When does the Pine Cone Foundation (PCF) begin accepting applications?

Applications will be accepted from February 15 to May 1, 2017.

When will the recipients and non-recipients be notified?

Finalists will be notified via email by June 1, 2017 and a 30 minute Skype interview time will be set up. PCF will conduct interviews from June 5 to 12, 2017.

PCF will contact the chosen recipients of the scholarships by June 19, 2017. Each awardee will be notified via email with instructions and requirements that must be met by August. The names of the recipients will be posted on PCF’s website in September.

Due to the volume of applications, non-finalists will not be personally notified.

How are learning disabilities diagnosed?

Learning disabilities are often identified when a child begins to attend school. Educators may use a process called "response to intervention" (RTI) to help identify children with learning disabilities. Specialized assessment testing is required to make a clear diagnosis, however. Please visit this link to learn more about how learning disabilities are diagnosed.

Who can diagnose LD?

Many professionals are involved in the diagnosis of LD. They include psychologists, educational specialists, and other professionals who work in specialized fields such as speech and language. Please note, many of these professionals can suspect LD, but all are not licensed, or have the needed certifications to diagnose the disorder. It's always important to ask the professional about his/her credentials. When you go to a person in a private practice, not in the school system, it is important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD.  Please visit this link to learn more about who can diagnose a learning disability.

Why are students with ‘Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder alone’ ineligible?

As the Learning Disabilities Association of America states, “ADHD is not considered to be a learning disability; ADHD falls under the category “Other Health Impaired” and not under “Specific Learning Disabilities.” PCF is firmly committed to our mission of supporting the higher education goals of learning disabled students.

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that should be prepared by prospective college students to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Please click this link to learn more about this program. Upon completion of the FAFSA process, students can determine if they are eligible for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW).

Why are only Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW) students eligible?

PCF aspires to support students who have severe financial difficulties; the BOGFW criteria ensures the organization is receiving applications from students who legitimately require financial assistance to pursue their higher education goals.

To learn more about BOGFW, parental income restrictions and additional financial aid options, please visit this site hosted by California Community Colleges.

How many students receive a scholarship?

Each year, PCF wholeheartedly aims to distribute up to 5 scholarships on an annual basis. The organization reserves the right to award from 1 to 5 scholarships based on the annual applications received from eligible students by the deadline.

Who reviews the applications and selects the awardees?

The Board of Directors of the foundation will serve as the selection committee. Please note, California Community Colleges’ staff and board members have no involvement in the selection process for the PCF scholarship program.

What is the monetary value of the scholarship?

The PCF scholarship is a year-round support program that can total up to $5,500 over a 3 year period and works in the following way:

1st year based on application and an 8 to 12 unit enrollment status:
Fall semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Spring semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Summer semester - up to $250 towards sanctioned expenses

2nd year based on 8 to 12 unit enrollment status with a GPA of 2.5 or higher maintained:
Fall semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Spring semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Summer semester - up to $250 towards sanctioned expenses

3rd year based on 8 to 12 unit enrollment status with a GPA of 2.5 or higher maintained:
Fall semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Spring semester - up to $500 towards sanctioned expenses
Associate degree students - a one time $2,000 tuition scholarship awarded upon successfully transferring to a 4 year institution
with a GPA of 2.5 or higher maintained

Awardees are required to provide PCF with proof of college registration for the scholarship program to commence in the fall semester of the same year the award is presented. Proof of registration each semester will be required for the duration of the scholarship program to remain in good standing.

PCF also requires scholarship recipients enrolled in course studies to provide a transcript indicating the recipient’s courses taken and grades received during each academic period covered by the scholarship. The transcript must be verified by the educational institution that the recipient is attending.

How are the monies disbursed? 

The PCF scholarship program is based on reimbursement. Scholarship funds, up to $500 for spring and fall and $250 for summer semesters, will be paid directly to awardees upon email submission of scanned receipts for each expense, each semester. Sanctioned expenses include the following: books, eye exams, prescription glasses, health service, student center, parking permit and Universal Transit Pass fees. 

For Associate degree students who successfully transfer to a 4 year institution, after 3 years at community college, a one time $2,000 tuition scholarship will be paid to directly to the Bursar's Office to offset tuition costs. There are no institution restrictions for this final phase of the PCF scholarship program.

Are home-schooled students eligible to apply?

No, not at this time.

How will I know if PCF received my application package? 

There will be no outreach from the organization; we suggest shipping your application with USPS Priority Mail, FedEx or UPS to ensure the application package can be tracked. Also, please make sure to clearly write a return address on your package, so if it gets returned for any reason you will receive it back and your private information will be secure.

We do not accept applications via email or fax. 

What happens if I have been awarded a scholarship and transfer to a non-partner institution or need to take time off?

PCF will adhere to the policies that all recipients attend a California Community College and remain continuously enrolled. If you transfer out of state or otherwise cease to be enrolled at a California-based institution all rights to future scholarship monies are forfeited. Please note, PCF will not offer re-application to the scholarship program if withdrawal is necessary for any reason.

I have been awarded a scholarship and completed my degree in 2 years, what happens to the extra scholarship funds?

PCF only supports eligible students who are currently enrolled in a program at a California Community College; the program has been created to assist students for up to 3 years, if you complete your degree in less than 3 years, the extra funds will go towards future scholarship funding.

Why is the foundation called Pine Cone?

The organization is called Pine Cone based on pine tree reproduction, which starts with the development of pine cones on a mature tree; in many pine species cone seeds have wings, which when the seeds are released from the cone, help them fly through the air on the wind to land on soil, sprout and eventually grow into pine trees.

What is PCF’s Code of Conduct?

To establish and maintain both fairness and privacy, PCF requires all Board members who participate in the scholarship selection process to adhere to this Code of Conduct:

Members embrace inclusivity by working to ensure the community is well-represented in the planning, design and implementation of the PCF scholarship program. This includes encouraging and prioritizing application access to women, minorities and traditionally marginalized groups.

Members agree to treat the application deliberations and recommendations as confidential and not to disclose any information to anyone outside the committee.

A member has a conflict of interest if (a) the member is related by blood, marriage, or adoption to a scholarship applicant; (b) the member will receive a direct or indirect financial benefit from recommending a scholarship to a particular applicant; or (c) due to personal or business relationships, or any other reason, the member exerts influence to recommend a recipient without regard to the scholarship criteria. If a member has an actual or potential conflict of interest concerning an applicant, the member will disclose the conflict to the rest of the committee. The member shall not discuss the scholarship applicant with anyone on the committee and will not participate in, or be present during, any committee deliberations concerning that applicant.

Members agree to provide an environment where people are free from discrimination or harassment.