The Pine Cone Foundation (PCF) is a 501c3 that awards multi-year scholarships to financially-disadvantaged students with documented learning disabilities across the state of California who aspire to attend community college.  

PCF is a private family foundation that is aiming to positively impact LD students' lives in California by making college more accessible and financially feasible. It was founded in 2015 to honor a beloved family member that passed away.

The PCF scholarship program assists eligible students with documented learning disabilities who demonstrate academic promise and meet the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW) criteria. Because the BOGFW waives enrollment fees, the award monies support students specifically with purchasing books and prescription glasses, as well as covering health service, student center, parking permit and Universal Transit Pass fees. 

To be eligible for a PCF scholarship, each applicant must:

  • Be a graduating high school senior
  • Plan on enrolling at one of California Community Colleges with a course load of at least 8 credits
  • Demonstrate financial need; student must complete the FAFSA process and be approved for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW) upon application submission
  • Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher upon applying and graduation
  • Provide most current documentation of an identified learning disability*; Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder alone is not considered to be a learning disability; eligible candidates with AD/HD must also provide documentation of a specific learning disability
  • Be a United States citizen, as well as a California resident 
  • Submit a complete application with all required paperwork in 1 package, postmarked on or before the deadline date; any incomplete or late applications will be disqualified

* A Specific Learning Disability is a disorder in one or more of central nervous system processes involved in perceiving, understanding, and / or using concepts through verbal (spoken or written language) or nonverbal means. This disorder manifests itself with a deficit in one or more of the following areas: attention, reasoning, memory, communicating, reading, writing, spelling, calculation, coordination, social competence and emotional maturity. - U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Up to 5 awards will be given annually and PCF aims to award scholarships to students from all around the state to ensure well-rounded service to the California LD community, as well as assure diversity amongst recipients.

PCF offers ongoing funding for up to 3 years for awardees seeking associate, bachelor, technical and vocational degrees (including culinary arts) who maintain an 8 to 12 unit enrollment status and a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Once awarded a PCF scholarship, it 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.

The PCF scholarship program is based on reimbursement. Scholarship funds 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. 

Only California Community Colleges are being considered for the PCF scholarship program at this time.

Application timeline:

  • February 1 to March 31 - Apply for The Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGFW) and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • February 15 to May 1 - PCF applications accepted
  • May 1 - Deadline for application
  • May 2 to May 22 - Review period 
  • June 1 - Finalists notified via email and interviews scheduled
  • June 5 to 12 - Finalists interviews conducted
  • June 19 - Winners of the scholarship notified via email
  • August 15 - Awardees provide PCF with proof of registration to accepted college for the scholarship program to commence in the fall semester

The PCF Board of Directors 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.

Please visit the FAQ page for further details and information about the scholarship program before you begin the application process.