Frequently Asked Questions
When is the deadline for submitting applications?
The Ron Brown Scholar Program currently has two deadlines for applications (students must be current high school seniors at the time of their application):
November 1st - application will be considered for the Ron Brown Scholar Program AND forwarded to a select and limited number of additional scholarship providers.
January 9th - final postmarked deadline in order to be considered for only the Ron Brown Scholar Program ONLY.
Since the postmark is what matters, there is no advantage in sending your application by overnight delivery service. If January 9th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, your application should be postmarked by the following Monday.
When are letters of recommendation and school transcripts due? Can they be sent separately from my application?
Application materials must be mailed in one packet. Transcripts and letters of recommendation should not be sent under separate cover. Incomplete, e-mailed or faxed applications will not be considered.
Do my letters of recommendation have to be written by teachers, or can they come from anyone?
We ask for two letters of recommendation. At least one of these should be written by your high school guidance counselor, teacher or principal. The second letter may be submitted by anyone who knows you well and can attest to your character, leadership ability, commitment to community service, or academic achievement. This may include someone such as an employer, coach, or mentor. It cannot be your mother, father or guardian.
What standardized test results are required? How and when do I submit my scores?
We require either SAT (Verbal and Math) or ACT (composite) scores. Results of SAT II (Subject Tests) and AP exams are optional. Record the required scores on page 1 of your application in case they don't appear on your high school transcript. You should take the SAT I or ACT no later than the November test administration so that the scores are available when you submit your application or shortly thereafter.
Are there minimum SAT or ACT scores?
No. We do not have cut-off scores. Competition for the scholarships is intense, however, and successful applicants have demonstrated a serious commitment to academics. This is reflected in their high grade point averages, rank in class, and test scores.
What essays are required? The application says to submit an essay that I wrote for my college applications. What if they didn't require any?
We require 2 essays, each approximately 500 words. In the first one, we ask that you answer a specific question. The second essay can be on any topic. If you haven't written one for a college application, you may submit an essay that you wrote for one of your classes, or write a new essay.
Keep in mind that the essays are an opportunity for you to tell us something about yourself that we can't learn from your transcript or test scores.
Can I apply on-line?
No. You may print the application from our web site and mail it to us, but it is not possible to apply on-line. If you do print the application from the web site, be sure to print both pages. There are sections for you, your parent/guardian, and high school guidance counselor to complete.
Can I fax or email my application?
Due to the large number of applicants, we are unable to accept faxed or emailed applications or any part of the application.
I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?
If you have a legitimate reason, beyond your control, for missing the deadline, you may call to request an extension. Approval must be given by the Ron Brown Scholar Program in order for the deadline to be extended.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to apply for a Ron Brown scholarship?
Yes. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in order to apply.
Is there an income limit?
Financial need is a factor that we consider in awarding scholarships. If you think that you will be eligible for financial aid at the colleges to which you are applying, you should apply for a Ron Brown Scholarship.
Whose income should be listed if my parents are separated or divorced? If my parents have remarried, do I include my step-parents' income?
In the first stage of the application process, you should list the income of both parents if it is available to you. This should include the non-custodial parent. If a parent's whereabouts is unknown, you should list that on the application. If you reside with a step-parent, that should be indicated and their income listed.
If you are residing with a legal guardian, you should list their income on the application.
Should you advance to the next stage, information about your non-custodial parent's income will be requested and will be taken into account in determining financial need.
Do you need verification of my parents' income?
The application asks your parents for their adjusted gross income on last year's federal income tax return, that is, the return that they filed when you were a junior in high school. By their signatures, they also agree to provide proof of income, including copies of income tax returns, if required.
If you advance to the next stage in the application process and become a semi-finalist, verification of income will be required.
Can I use the Ron Brown Scholarship at any college and for any major?
The scholarship may be used at any degree-granting four-year college within the United States. Recipients may study any academic discipline of their choice. The scholarship may not be used for vocational or technical training.
If I am awarded a Ron Brown Scholarship, how do I get my money?
We send the check directly to your college to be credited to your account.
If I am awarded other scholarships or financial aid, does it affect my eligibility for the Ron Brown Scholarship?
You are eligible for a Ron Brown Scholarship even if you receive other scholarships or financial aid.
When are the winners notified? Are applicants who have not won also notified?
Semi-Finalists will be contacted in late February. Finalists will be notified in early March and invited to Washington, D.C. (we pay expenses) to be interviewed by the National Selection Committee.
Because of the large number of applicants, we are not able to notify those who have not reached the semi-finalist or finalist stage. We will post the names of the scholarship winners on our website in late April/early May.
Where does funding for the Ron Brown Scholarships come from?
The scholarships are funded by the Ron Brown Scholar Fund/CAP Foundation and from generous donations from friends and partners.