Scholarships at the Community Foundation

Since 1993 the DeKalb County Community Foundation has partnered with philanthropists to benefit organizations and communities throughout DeKalb County. Many of our donors who care about education create Scholarship Funds to help individuals with rising education costs. The Foundation offers over 80 scholarships to students across DeKalb County.

View a complete list of scholarships available at the Community Foundation >

Becky Zantout

Applying for a Scholarship

Most scholarships offered through Funds at the Community Foundation are for students graduating from high schools in DeKalb County. High school students must apply for these using the Foundation's Universal Scholarship Application process. Applicants who are not high school students should not use the Universal Application. Scholarships that fall under this universal application process open on February 1, 2022, and have a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2022.

A small number of scholarship opportunities are not included in the Universal Application. Applicants must determine their eligibility and apply using an application specific to that award. Learn more about these additional scholarships on the Additional Scholarship Opportunities page.

For questions on scholarships at the Community Foundation, please contact Scholarships Manager Becky Zantout at or 815-748-5383.

How to Apply Using the Universal Scholarship Application

The Universal Scholarship Application allows high school students to complete a single application to qualify and apply for many scholarship opportunities. In 2022, the Universal Application is open from February 1 to 11:59 p.m. on April 1.

  • To begin, students must set up a Universal Application account.
  • Once the account is created, students start the application process.
  • Students are then asked a series of questions that determine their eligibility for specific awards. Based on their response to these common questions, the application will request supplemental information specific to individual awards.

Access the Universal Scholarship Application >

Need Help Using the Universal Application?

Review the tutorials below for assistance creating an account and completing a scholarship application.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the scholarship application deadline?
The scholarship deadline for the Universal Application is 11:59 p.m. on April 1, 2022. Deadlines for post high school scholarships vary depending on the scholarship.
What information is needed for a scholarship application?
At minimum, scholarship applicants are required to provide:
  • Personal identification information
  • Details about extracurricular activities and community involvement
  • Write a short essay
  • A letter of recommendation from community member and/or teacher
  • Plans for post-secondary education at a college, university, or trade school
Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to share:
  • SAT and ACT scores
  • Class Rank
  • Information detailing their financial need
  • The expected family contribution received after submitting the FAFSA
  • Note: It is not required to submit personal financial information, though many scholarship reference financial need as a deciding factor for the selection committee
Certain scholarship opportunities will require further information such as:
  • High school transcripts
  • Specific essay questions
What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number and how do I get one?
Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an index number that colleges use to determine how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Your EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law and the information you provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about FAFSA >.
How do I edit or view my application?

To view or edit your application log in to your application profile. You cannot edit your application after it is submitted. There is no advantage for submitting an application early. Make sure your application is up to date and unlikely to change before you submit.

How do you select scholarship recipients?
Each scholarship opportunity is selected by a committee and has specific selection criteria. Committee members vary depending on the scholarship criteria and donor request.
When and how will I know if I am selected to receive a scholarship?
High school scholarship recipients are notified at their high school senior award night. Other scholarships are notified by phone or email.
How much will I receive in scholarships?
Scholarship amounts vary depending on the scholarship applied for. Applicants are encouraged to apply for as many awards as they are eligible for to increase the likelihood of receiving one or more awards.
What will my scholarship award cover?
Scholarships can be used for direct education expenses including tuition, books, and/or other school related fees.
When will I receive the scholarship money?
Typically scholarships are awarded in mid-July. If you receive an award, be sure to provide your scholarship acceptance form as soon as possible to receive your award promptly.
What happens if I move or change schools after I’ve been awarded a scholarship?
You must notify the Community Foundation if you transfer schools or decide to un-eroll or defer your education. If you transfer schools, the Community Foundation can transfer your award to your new institution. This applies only if the school and your plans of study still fit the original scholarship criteria. If you decide to defer your education, contact as soon as possible. It is sometimes allowable to defer your award for one year.
If I receive a scholarship, should I send a thank you note? Where do I send it?
Yes, donors enjoy reading thank you notes and like to know something about the person who is receiving their scholarship. If you receive a scholarship, you will be required to complete a scholarship acceptance form which will ask you to share information about yourself with the donor; you will also be asked to share any words of gratitude to the donor(s). A copy of this information (along with some additional details about you – school, major, etc.) will be shared with the donor. If you’d still like to send a thank you letter to the donor (which is encouraged!), please mail it to the DeKalb County Community Foundation - 475 DeKalb Avenue, Sycamore, IL 60178. The Foundation will forward it to the donor(s).
What if I have additional questions?
For additional questions about scholarships at the Community Foundation, please don’t hesitate to call us 815-748-5383 or email For other questions, consider asking your high school guidance counselor.

Additional Scholarship Opportunities, Renewals, and Reapplications

The following scholarship opportunities are not included in the Foundation's Universal Application. This listing contains the scholarship opportunities for post high school students, including scholarship renewals and reapplications. To determine eligibility for these awards, please review the guidelines for each and complete an online application.

Award Renewals and Reapplications

Recipients looking to renew an award or reapply for a scholarship. Details coming soon.

Renew or reapply for a Scholarship >

CHS Elburn Scholarship

The CHS Elburn Scholarship is available to high school graduates and current undergraduate students at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be a family member of an eligible CHS Elburn customer or employee. Applications are available February 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the CHS Elburn Scholarship >

Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship

The Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship benefits a graduating DeKalb County high school senior OR a current college student who graduated from a DeKalb County high school and plans to attend or is already enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in any agriculture related field. Current college students must be currently enrolled in the University's College of ACES (Agriculture, Consumer, and Economic Sciences). Applications are available February 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship >

Pritchard Scholarship recipients Logan Bend, Ava Splear, Samantha Moore, and Natalie Pasillas

Dr. and Mrs. Harold P. Wells Scholarship

The Dr. and Mrs. Harold P. Wells Scholarship is available to employees and family members of the employees of the DeKalb Fire Department and graduates of the Kishwaukee Education Consortium's Fire Science Program. The Wells Scholarship can be used to offset expenses for any educational purpose. Some examples include college tuition, any fire course, educational short courses, conferences and camps, such as music and space camp, etc. Applications are available February 1 - April 15.

View guidelines for the Dr. and Mrs. Harold P. Wells Scholarship >

Ed and Kim Kapper Physical Therapy Scholarship

The Ed and Kim Kapper Physical Therapy Scholarship provides support for a high school graduate of a DeKalb County school who is attending an accredited physical therapy program at an accredited college or university. Applications are available April 1 - June 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Ed and Kim Kapper Physical Therapy Scholarship >

2022 Kapper Physical Therapy Scholarship recipient Leea Perry

Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Scholarship

Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Fund, DeKalb County Community Foundation, Sycamore, IL

Lt. Jeffrey Allen Trail

The Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Scholarship provides an initial monetary award every year to a recent high school graduate from DeKalb County who is in the first year at one of the five U.S. service academies and who has been chosen from among that year’s applicants. The selected student will receive an additional stipend each year that he or she continues at the academy. Completion of the four-year undergraduate program would result in total assistance amounting to $5,000. Applications are available April 1 - June 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Scholarship >

Renaissance Scholarship

The Renaissance Scholarship offers a $1,000 initial scholarship renewable for up to three years to an individual returning to school for his or her undergraduate degree after being a part of the work force. Applications are available April 1 - June 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Renaissance Scholarship >

Spinoso Masters Scholarship

The Spinoso Masters Scholarship provides a scholarship for up to $10,000 to a deserving student to cover tuition costs of post-undergraduate or master's studies. Eligible applicants must have graduated from a DeKalb County high school but do not need to currently live in DeKalb County. Applications are available April 1 - June 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Spinoso Masters Scholarship >

2022 Spinoso Masters Scholarship recipients Jake Bjork, Elena Haliczer, Tyler Hull, and Diana Morales.

Virginia Larsen Nursing Scholarship

The Virginia Larsen Nursing Scholarship is open to students who are residents of DeKalb County seeking a college-level nursing degree. Applicants must be a full-time student. Applications are available February 1 - April 15.

If giving the gift of education is an area of interest to you, consider donating to an existing Scholarship Fund or create one of your own. To discuss your charitable interests, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or

Donate to a Scholarship Fund >