Applying for a Scholarship


Scholarship Application Review

While scholarships may have donor-established criteria, such as the high school you attend(ed) or your career goals, scholarship applications are evaluated based on the following: academic record (that is, your grades), activities, work experience, essays (do put some time into these), and special circumstances. Some scholarships will require a recommendation (we’ll let you know). What we DO NOT look at – SAT or ACT scores.

Please note, too, that scholarships are reviewed “blind.” The Dollars for Scholars application system removes identifying information so that the scholarship committee (a group of volunteers from all over Allegany County) does not know who submitted the application it is seeing.

Scholarship Q & A

Does receiving or not receiving an award mean I always will or won’t in the future?

Applications are reviewed anew each year, and we have very few awards that renew automatically. So, if you have received one definitely reapply; if not – still reapply, at least once more. There is no cost to apply. By the way, when you reapply, please update your essays, at least the goals one, to reflect your current thinking.

What should I have with me when I start the application? 

You’ll really benefit from having a copy of your current high school transcript (grades 9 and up) on hand, and the info from your parents FAFSA if they have that (but you can start without this). Having the name and contact information for your school counselor and your parents email address will also prove helpful.

Is it true that some colleges will match an ACAF/Dollars for Scholars award?

Yes, it is true. Dollars for Scholars/scholarship America ended its Collegiate Partners program in September 2022. Since then, ACAF has been contacting former matching schools, and other colleges frequently attended by our scholarship recipients, to see if they will set up matching arrangements specifically for ACAF scholarships. As of Nov 1, 2023, Elmira, Houghton, and Roberts Wesleyan colleges and St. Bonaventure University are offering partial matches to most students, and we hope more colleges will join them. Houghton and Roberts are former DFS matching partners who have maintained that commitment. Please check back for updates.


The 2023 year ACAF/Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Application will be open early November 2023, through early February, 2024.

The Fall 2023 application to the Allegany County Area Foundation Dollars for Scholars scholarship program will go live on November 1, 2023. The deadline for application submission will be February 5, 2024. The application can be found at the link below. Once it’s open in the fall, CLICK on the Students & Parents tab and then on the CLICK to LOGIN in the center of the page to start the application. ACAF manages around 50 scholarship programs. The online application system will identify those for which you may qualify – so you need only complete the one application.

Contact ACAF if you have questions about the process.

Scholarship Q & A

Can I receive a scholarship if I am already in college? How about grad school?

Yes, this last May around 40% of our awards were made to current college students. We had a few grad students in the mix, too, including one law school student, and two in medical school.

Can students pursuing trades or vocations receive scholarships?
Yes, we are glad to report. In fact, recent years have seen an increase in scholarships awarded for vocational study, and greater donor interest in supporting these career goals.

Any other tips?

Yes – please start the app early – as in over one of the November/December school breaks. Call ACAF at 585-296-5616 or email if you have questions. We’re very helpful!

Since awarding its first scholarship in 1990, the Allegany County Area Foundation has given out over $3.2M in scholarships to local students.

Our affiliation with Dollars for Scholars provides ACAF with an online application process and creates some matching award opportunities through DFS Collegiate Partners 2019

 Our scholarship program also recognizes the exceptional commitment of local teachers and school personnel who do so much to support students.