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Serving DeKalb County, IL Since 1993

Scholarships at the Community Foundation

Since 1993 the Community Foundation has successfully 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 75 different scholarships to high school students across DeKalb County.

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

ONE Application, ONE Deadline, 75+ Scholarships

Applying for a Community Foundation scholarship is now easier than ever. With the new Universal Scholarship Application, students can apply once and have their application applied to any and all scholarships at the Community Foundation that they are eligible for. It's that easy!

Students interested in applying for a scholarship must complete an online application. Applicants need to only submit the ONE Universal Application to apply. Scholarships that require supplemental materials (i.e. letter of recommendation, additional essay, etc.) will have additional instructions emailed to the applicant.

How to Apply

  • To begin, select the Apply For a Scholarship button
  • Create an account using your email address
  • Review the scholarship listings to identify any scholarships that you are eligible for
  • Follow the instructions to complete the online application and submit when finished
  • Complete and submit your application before April 1, 2021 (All sections must be complete, and all supporting documents must be provided. Partially completed applications will not be considered.)

Need Help With Applying?

Review the tutorials below for assistance with creating an account and completing the application. Applicants can also download a written tutorial with detailed instructions on how to register and apply.

If you have any questions about scholarship opportunities with the Community Foundation, please contact Tiffany McQueen Lewis, Grants Director, at 815-748-5383 or tiffany@dekalbccf.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the scholarship application deadline?
All scholarship applications will be due on April 1. Be sure to allow enough time for you to complete your application before the due date. No application will be accepted after the due date, no exceptions.
Will I need to indicate that I would like to apply for specific scholarships?
No. Students will complete the Community Foundation Universal Application. Once you complete that application, you will be considered for any scholarship in which you are eligible. If a scholarship that you are eligible for requires additional materials (letter of recommendation, additional essay, etc.), you will be notified after submitting your application and will have the option to submit the additional materials to be considered for those scholarships.
What materials are needed to complete the application?
Your most recent transcript, your SAT and ACT Test Scores (if available), Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number from a processed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (if available), email addresses of individuals from whom you will request a recommendation (not all scholarships require a letter of recommendation).
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). Further information about the FAFSA is available at: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
How do I edit or view my application?

You can view your application at any time as instructed below. However, once you submit your application, it can no longer be edited by you. Therefore, take your time and review your whole application before submitting.


If you realize your application needs to be edited after submission, send the updated information to tiffany@dekalbccf.org as soon as possible. Foundation staff will edit your application with the updates.


Click on the Apply/Login For a Scholarship button on the Foundation website. Enter the logon credentials you created during the registration process when you established your account. Click on the "Log On" button to access your account. Once you are logged on, you will be navigated to the Applicant Dashboard. Click on the "Active Requests" tab. In the "DeKalb County Community Foundation High School Scholarships" section, click on the blue words "Edit Application" or "View Application" depending on whether you have submitted your application.

How do you select scholarship recipients?
Scholarship applications are reviewed by the scholarship committee at each high school. The Community Foundation processes the application materials for the committee members to review. We encourage all applicants to carefully read about each scholarship and try to determine what exactly the scholarship provider is looking for. This is an opportunity for applicants to emphasize their related qualities during the application process.
When and how will I know if I am selected to receive a scholarship?
A notice will be sent to all applicants via email in early May.
How much will I receive in scholarships?
Scholarship Funds offer varying award amounts, which may range from $500 to several thousand dollars. Awards are dependent on the size of the particular Fund, the number of qualified applicants, and the directions given by the donor(s) of the Funds. Some scholarships are renewable for more than one year.
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?
Scholarship checks are processed in mid-July. College scholarship payments are mailed directly to the school’s financial aid office. Your scholarship check will be made payable to the accredited, educational institution you are attending. Please note that depending on the process, it could take several weeks after your school receives the check to have it reflect on your account. If you are questioning its status, please check with your Financial Aid Office first to find out if it is being processed.
What happens if I move or change schools after I’ve been awarded a scholarship?
You must notify the Community Foundation if you move or transfer to a new school. Contact Tiffany McQueen Lewis by email tiffany@dekalbccf.org as soon as you have made your decision to transfer. The Foundation will send the scholarship check to your new school. If the check has already been mailed, the Foundation will contact the previous school and ask the school to send the check back and a new check will be sent to your new school.
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?
If you have additional questions about the scholarship application materials or preparing to apply, please see your guidance counselor. If you have questions for the Community Foundation, please contact Tiffany McQueen Lewis at tiffany@dekalbccf.org or 815-748-5383.

DeKalb County and Beyond Scholarship Opportunities

There are a variety of Scholarship Funds at the Community Foundation and not all are specific to a local high school or who is eligible to receive them. Below are scholarships administered by the Community Foundation that vary in their requirements, application guidelines, and deadlines. Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review the guidelines and eligibility requirements for each prior to applying. For questions or additional information, please contact Grants Director Tiffany McQueen Lewis, at 815-748-5383 or grants@dekalbccf.org.

Apply/Login for a Scholarship >

DeKalb County Opportunities

Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

The Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship benefits a graduating high school senior in DeKalb County 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 in Champaign/Urbana, majoring in any agriculture related field. Current college students must be currently enrolled in the ACES Program at the University of Illinois. Applications are available January 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Donald and Patricia Pritchard Scholarship >

Ed and Kim Kapper Physical Therapy Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

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 >

Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

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 January 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Jeffrey A. Trail Memorial Scholarship >

Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

The Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship is available for high school graduates of a DeKalb County high school planning to pursue a career in the field of music. The scholarship is awarded by a committee composed of several individuals from various musical backgrounds and representing many communities throughout DeKalb County. Applications are available January 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship >

Jesse Wiemer-Hastings is the 2020 recipient of the Palmer Family Music Education Scholarship.

Renaissance Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

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 >

Renaissance Scholarship recipient Shannon Alamia and Community Foundation Grants Director Tiffany McQueen Lewis.

Spinoso Masters Scholarship

(DeKalb County)

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 >

2020 Spinoso Masters Scholarship recipients Karrigan Cowan, David Long, Margaret Meyer, Paul Un, Taylor Volk, and Lauren Zaeske.

DeKalb County and Beyond Opportunities

CHS Elburn Scholarship

(DeKalb County and Beyond)

The CHS Elburn Scholarship is available for 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 a family member of a CHS Elburn employee. Applications are available January 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the CHS Elburn Scholarship >

Fourteen CHS Elburn Scholarships were awarded in 2018. Each student received $1,000 in educational support towards an accredited college or university.

Dr. and Mrs. Harold P. Wells Scholarship Fund

(DeKalb County and Beyond)

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 January 1 - April 1 each year.

View guidelines for the Wells Scholarship Fund >

Wells Scholarship recipient Cameron Carani.