Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for Foundation scholarships?

Please visit our How to Apply page for detailed instructions.

Does it take a long time to apply?

On average, it takes 15-30 minutes for most students to complete the general application, which will allow students to be auto-matched with multiple scholarships.

The general application will allow applicants the opportunity to share information about their activities, honors, achievements, organizational participation and leadership. It will also include space for students to provide additional personal and family information, which could help match a student to certain scholarships.

The time it takes to complete the general application will depend on how much information a student includes. Usually, the scholarship committee can make a more informed decision when students include details on what might set them apart from other applicants.

Students may also be invited to apply for additional scholarship opportunities if information from the general application indicates that there could be additional matches. To be considered, there will be additional requirements for students to apply to these scholarships. Below are the most common requirements:

  1. Write an essay
  2. Provide names and emails of references
  3. Submit a résumé
  4. Answer a specific question or questions that could be used as qualifiers

If required, how do I provide my essay, references and/or résumé for apply-to scholarships?

Essay and résumé:

Students may simply upload their documents when prompted.


First, applicants need to identify who might be willing and able to write a reference letter for them. Second, ask permission. Applicants need to make sure the person is willing to be a reference. While it is acceptable for students to request their favorite faculty member, some faculty may not feel comfortable; many faculty serve on scholarship committees and may feel being a reference could be conflict of interest.

When a student has secured permission, they may enter their reference’s name and email when prompted. Then, AcademicWorks will send an automated communication to the reference with instructions on how to upload their letter directly to the AcademicWorks system. This process keeps everything confidential.

Why can’t I see any auto-match scholarships in my AcademicWorks portal?

Auto-matches made using student information from the general scholarship application are not viewable in the AcademicWorks portal because there is no further action required for a student to be considered.

How do I know if I qualify?

Scholarship criteria (qualifications) for each Foundation scholarship opportunity may be viewed by visiting Donors specify criteria (qualifications) for their scholarships. The GPA required for eligibility can vary. Some scholarships are based on state and county residency. Some scholarships are based on academic performance. Others are based on a student demonstrating financial need by submitting a FAFSA.

If I qualify for a Foundation scholarship, will I automatically receive it?

No. Scholarship committees throughout the University will review applicants who meet the criteria (qualifications) and identify and award the most qualified applicant(s) based on the criteria listed for each scholarship.

Can out-of-state students receive Foundation scholarships?

Yes, of course! Many scholarships do not have geographic criteria, and there are some that are specifically geared toward out-of-state students (as well as international students).

Is there a difference between Foundation scholarships and institutional scholarships?

Yes. Foundation scholarships are scholarships that our generous donors have created, and these scholarship funds are managed by the Radford University Foundation. Students are selected by various scholarship committees throughout the University for these scholarships.

Institutional scholarships are scholarships that are allocated and budgeted by the University. These are typically awarded to new freshmen and transfer students by the Office of Admissions in the fall or early spring for the upcoming academic year. The Graduate College also awards some institutional scholarships.

Athletics combines institutional and Foundation scholarships in many of their athletic award packages.

If I received a Foundation scholarship last year, will I automatically receive it again?

Possibly. Some Foundation scholarships are not renewable, and most scholarships require students to re-apply, continue to meet certain criteria (qualifications) and compete with the rest of the students applying for the scholarship the next year.

Some scholarships are for freshmen only, and a new recipient is named each year. Still a few scholarships may be renewed if the student continues to meet the eligibility requirements; no application is required.

How often do I apply for Foundation scholarships?

It is best to re-apply each year. The vast majority of Foundation scholarships require students to apply each year, even for renewals. No matter the outcome of the previous award cycles, students should apply each year to be considered!

To be considered for Foundation scholarships for the upcoming 2024-25 academic year, students will need to apply through our Foundation scholarship application management portal, AcademicWorks: The portal opens on November 1, 2023, and the priority deadline to apply is February 5, 2024.

Radford University has one scholarship cycle each academic year, but a few new opportunities may come up throughout the year as well. Students should also be on the lookout for emails from faculty, department chairs or even from the Financial Aid Office announcing additional opportunities that may come up.

Am I required to complete the FAFSA to be considered?

No. Students are not required to complete the FAFSA to apply for Foundation scholarships; however, the majority of our Foundation scholarships require students to demonstrate financial need by completing the FAFSA for consideration. In other words, to be considered for the most opportunities, it is best for students to complete the FAFSA!

How and when will I be notified if I am selected for a Foundation scholarship?

The Foundation Office will send email notifications for Foundation scholarships awarded through AcademicWorks. Award notification emails come from and will be sent to students through their Radford University email accounts.

Most award notifications go out in March and April; however, additional scholarships may be awarded throughout the year.

How do Foundation scholarship funds pay for my education?

Foundation scholarship funds are posted against a student’s University account to settle any charges at the University.

For either full-time or part-time students, total scholarship awards cannot exceed the cost of attendance. Cost of attendance is the total budget for a student – which includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, personal and travel expenses – and varies if a student is part-time or less than part-time. Although rare, if the amount of a student’s scholarship puts the student over the cost of attendance, the scholarship will be reduced superseding the original scholarship award notification sent to the student.

Scholarship funds are typically disbursed across the academic year with 50% of the award paid in the fall semester and 50% paid in the spring semester.

Why has my Foundation scholarship not paid to my student account?

Scholarships are processed and posted by the Financial Aid Office in the order they are received. It may take a little while for the scholarship award to be processed and show in the student's account depending on the volume of scholarships being processed.

It is important to note that award recipients’ thank you letters must be received and approved before scholarship funds are paid out and reflected on their bills.

If a student's award is not showing up in their account by the beginning of July, email Cherie Durbin at to determine the status of their missing scholarship.

I am graduating after the fall semester. May I have the full amount of my scholarship in the fall?

It depends on the scholarship and the amount to be awarded. Some scholarships can be awarded all in one semester and others cannot. If the scholarship allows for it and if the amount does not exceed the cost of attendance, it is possible.

Fall-only awards are made on a case-by-case bases and will require permission from the University. If you have specific questions about this, please email Cherie Durbin at

How can I see my Foundation scholarship award?

Students can see their Foundation scholarship award in a few places:

  1. Email – Students who have been awarded a Foundation scholarship will receive an award notification by email from in early May.
  2. AcademicWorks portal – Students who have received notification by email will also be able to log in to their AcademicWorks account and see their scholarship listed in an in-system notification. Students will need to click on the accept button at the bottom of the scholarship icon(s) and write a thank you letter to their donor contact.
  3. Financial Aid portal – Once awards are posted in AcademicWorks, they will then be processed and included as a part of the student’s financial aid package. Timing may vary depending on the volume of work being processed in the Financial Aid Office at that time.
  4. Student Accounts portal – Updates that are made in the Financial Aid portal can also be seen in the Student Accounts portal in real-time.

Why must I submit a thank you letter to receive my Foundation scholarship?

It is the right thing to do! Foundation scholarships are not just another funding source; they are gifts, and gifts like these need to be acknowledged in a sincere, meaningful way. Because our donors are a very special part of our Radford University family, we must take the time and effort to ensure they understand the impact of their gifts. The best way to do this is by sending a message of thanks in writing.

Students are required to submit their thank you letters by the designated deadline to receive their scholarships for the 2024-25 academic year.

In addition to sending thank you letters, students are invited to send pictures, as well as thank you video messages; these are optional. Students may send pictures and/or videos to Cherie Durbin at

Will I be required to attend the Partners in Excellence luncheon?

If a student’s donor attends, the student will be required to attend. This is a great opportunity for students to meet and thank their donor(s) in person and make connections with members of the Radford community.

Should there be a class conflict with the luncheon, we will work with the student’s faculty to determine if attendance is possible.

Partners in Excellence FAQ

Is it possible that I could lose my Foundation scholarship?

Yes. Although rare, it is possible. If it is found that a student no longer meets the Foundation scholarship criteria, a student’s scholarship could be cancelled. Below are some examples of factors that could impact a student’s scholarship eligibility:

  1. Major change
  2. GPA falling below the minimum requirement of the scholarship
  3. Less than full-time status (if the scholarship requires a student to be full-time)
  4. Student conduct conviction
  5. Honor code violation
  6. Student withdraw from the University
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Scholarship: A type of financial support based on academic, artistic, athletic achievement or other criteria that may or may not require financial need.

Foundation scholarship: Scholarships created by donors and managed by the Radford University Foundation, Inc. They are used to defray the cost of attendance for the recipients for a set time frame such as a semester or academic year.

Criteria: The qualifications or eligibility requirements that are set by the donor(s) of a scholarship. Criteria will vary from one scholarship to another. Most common criteria include GPA, major, geographic area, leadership and demonstrated financial need.

AcademicWorks: The platform that manages Radford University’s Foundation scholarship award process, including the application, review and award processes.

AcademicWorks portal: The gateway, or starting point, for students to view Radford University’s Foundation scholarships, apply for them and review award offers.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): Filling out the FAFSA is one of the first steps in the financial aid process. It determines the amount that a student and their family should be contributing to postsecondary education. The results of the FAFSA determine student grants, work-study, loan amounts and qualification for need-based scholarships. The FAFSA establishes a student’s demonstrated financial need. For the 2024-25 academic year, students may begin completing the FAFSA in December 2023.

Cost of Attendance (COA): The total budget for a student to attend. This includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, personal and travel expenses. This amount varies based on credit enrollment and residency.  

Student Aid Index (SAI): An index number calculated according to a formula established by federal law. The Financial Aid Office uses SAI to calculate how much financial aid a student should receive based on information reported on the FAFSA.

Demonstrated financial need: This is the difference between COA and SAI. Financial need increases with increases in the COA and/or decreases when the SAI increases. The way a student demonstrates financial need is by filing the FAFSA online and requesting that a student aid report is sent to Radford University.

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