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The Application Process

Q. How do I get started?
Before you can apply for a TCC scholarship, you need to apply to TCC and be assigned a TCC student ID. You will need your ID in order to complete the application. You will also need to fill out the FAFSA form and submit this to the financial aid office. For more information, visit the financial aid pages of this website.

Q. How do I apply?
There is only one application, which must be completed online through STARS (Scholarship Tracking and Review System). Your completed application will be considered for all Foundation scholarships for which you qualify and apply for. You must complete each required line on the application. Incomplete or inaccurate applications will not be considered.

Q. I am having difficulty uploading documents into my application. What do I do?
New option this year is a the reformatted Recommendation Link. This link allows the applicant to request the recommendation letter electronically, no more uploading of documents. It is an option and not a requirement, sofor help scanning and uploading documents, please contact Yolonda Williams, Scholarship Coordinator at 253-566-5315 or visit the Financial Aid office in Building 14, and ask for Yolonda. Note: Do not use links for your documents.The documents must be uploaded.

Tip: Start early!  Give yourself plenty of time (and save yourself undue stress!)

Q. I have completed the form and submitted my letters and essays – am I done?
No! At the end of the form, a list of scholarships for which you qualify will appear. You must click on each scholarship on the list, agree with the terms, then hit apply at the bottom of the page. Please note some scholarships require an additional essay response – you will not see this question until you click on the scholarships on your list!

Q. If I am an international or undocumented student who doesn't have a social security number to fill out the FAFSA, can I apply for Foundation scholarships?
At this time, undocumented students are not eligibel for TCC Foundation Scholarships. Check the Scholarships Tab on the STARS log in page for information on any scholarships for non-resident and International Students.

Q. If I applied using STARS, can I use the same log-in the next year?
Yes, you will create a new profile and you may use your user name and log-in from the previous application session.

Q. Will my MyTCC portal log-in work for STARS?
No, you must create a user name and password for STARS.

Q. Can I apply for more than one scholarship?
Yes, students can apply for and may receive funds from multiple scholarships but only need to apply with one application.

Q. Do I have to be a full-time student to apply for Foundation scholarships?
No, there are scholarships available for both full- and part-time students.

Q. Do I need to have chosen a specific field of study to qualify?
A. Some scholarships are specifically awarded to students in certain programs. All students who apply are encouraged to know their field of study.

Q. Is a TCC ID number required to apply?
Yes, all applicants must have a valid TCC ID number. TCC ID numbers typically start with 970-. But some vary.

Q. Do I need anything besides an application in STARS?
Yes, your most recent unofficial transcript (college or high school) and at least one letter of recommendation is required. Applications without the required documents will not be considered. Some scholarships require additional materials. These materials must be uploaded to your application.

Q. Who can/should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
Ask someone who knows you and your goals well. Avoid procrastinators and people who have difficulty writing. Applicants are responsible for making sure that the application is completed by the deadline. You can ask faculty or staff (instructors, advisors, coaches, etc.) at your current or past institution of learning. Ask someone in the community like an employer, volunteer coordinator or clergy member (priest, pastor, etc…) as long as they have a position in the community that adds credibility to your cause.

Q. Who should the letter of recommendation be made out to?
Letters should be addressed to the TCC Foundation Scholarship Committee and signed by the writer. Recommendation letters are sent electronically through STARS, no need to upload them any longer!

Q. How are applications reviewed?
A task force of TCC Foundation Board members, staff, faculty and other community members reviews all completed applications.

Essay Questions

Q. What essay questions do I need to answer?
The following are this year's three general essay questions. Applicants are required to answer each one:

In 200-350 words, please tell us 1) your career goals, 2) what has influenced you to choose them, and 3) why you believe you will successfully achieve your goals.

In 200-350 words, please describe one to three accomplishments that you are most proud of and/or that demonstrate your ability to succeed and/or are reflective of you as a person. Such accomplishments can be life or school related and can include volunteer or leadership activities.

In 200 to 350 words, describe how a scholarship will help you achieve your goals and why you are deserve to receive this scholarship more than some other student.

Note:  Some scholarships may have additional essay questions.

Q. How do I start writing an essay
Start by writing a list of your accomplishments – this will help you identify your strengths for your essays.  What are considered accomplishments?  Here’s a list to jump-start your brainstorming:

  • Community service
  • Volunteer work
  • Projects for which you received special recognition
  • Military service
  • Awards
  • Activities
  • Athletics
  • Clubs
  • Peace Corp/Americorps
  • Work recognition/balancing work and school
  • Etc., etc.

Ask others to tell you what your strengths and accomplishments are – sometimes they are your best advocates!

Q. How long should an essay be?
A. Your answers MUST be between 200 and 350 words max. Generally, an essay is a beginning paragraph, middle paragraph, and closing paragraph. Pay attention to your content. It is not necessarily how much you write but the quality of what is written. Other tips: Do your writing in Word, edit it there and then copy it into STARS. Check your spelling and grammar. Even better, ask someone to proof-read your application.

The Notification and Award Process

Q. What happens if I am awarded?
An email will be sent to your TCC email letting you know if you were awarded. Amounts are not disclosed at that time. An award letter and agreement form are mailed to the mailing address you provide in STARS with amount(s) and the name of the scholarship(s). You must also attend the Scholarship Recognition event that is held every November.

Q. Once I get my award letter, can I register for school?
Once you return the agreement and thank you letter, you can register when your registration date is available.

Q. What happens if my email or mailing address changes after I apply?
Please contact Yolonda Williams at 253.566.5315 immediately so you can receive all required documents in a timely fashion.

Q. If I am awarded, how do I get the funds?
First, you must write a thank you note and complete a scholarship agreement form by the deadline in your award letter. When the Foundation receives these items, funds will be forwarded to Tacoma Community College Financial Aid office. All scholarships are given through Financial Aid. No checks are ever given directly to the students from the Foundation.

Q. How can I use the scholarship funds?
This may depend on the scholarship you receive; however, typically, funds are available for tuition and fees only.

Q. How long do I have to use the funds?
A. Funds will be available for one academic year, fall, winter, spring quarters only. Scholarship combined awards over $750 will be equally distributed over three quarters. 

Other Questions & Contact Information

Q. What is the difference between the TCC Financial Aid Office and the TCC Foundation?
The Financial Aid office handles federal financial aid. The Foundation handles private donations that are awarded separately. Most students are eligible for funding from both departments.

Q. Can I apply if I am military or a dependent?
Yes. Please clarify your residency status with Enrollment Services.

Q. How much money is usually awarded?
Awards vary by student, scholarship and year. However, scholarship awards usually range from $100 to $5,500.

Q. If I decide not to go to Tacoma Community College this year, can I save the scholarship for the following year?
No, scholarships are awarded for one academic year. Any unused funds at the end of the academic year are returned to the Foundation.

Q. Can I use a TCC Foundation scholarship at another school?
No, TCC Foundation scholarships can only be used at TCC.

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