AWARD SELECTION PROCESS

KC Scholars (www.kcscholars.org) is a scholarship and college savings account/match program for low- and modest-income students and adults. For the 2018 application and selection process, applications open in the online scholarship platform accessed via the KC Scholars website (kcscholars.org) starting on January 1, 2018 and are due by 12 midnight on March 2, 2018.

KC Scholars is a competitive award program and thousands of students and adult learners in the six-county Kansas City metropolitan area are expected to meet minimum eligibility requirements during each annual award cycle. In the inaugural cycle in 2017, near 1,500 completed applications were received for a limited number of awards.

In its inaugural year KC Scholars announced its first-ever awards on May 1, 2017:

  • 287 traditional (11th grade) scholarships;
  • 90 adult learner scholarships; and
  • 190 college savings accounts for 9th graders seeded with $50. Seventy (70) of those were selected to participate in the college savings match and incentives program.

Before an individual can apply for a scholarship, minimum eligibility requirements must have been met and been verified through an online eligibility check. The following chart details minimum eligibility requirements for each of the three program components:



Traditional Scholarship  
Adult Learner Scholarship
College Savings Account OR College Savings Match and Incentive Program
Geographic At the time of application and continuously through high school graduation, live in and/or be enrolled in a public, charter, or private high school or be home schooled in one of these six counties: Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte, Missouri, and, Wyandotte and Johnson, Kansas* Be a resident of one of these six counties at the time of application: Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte, Missouri, and, Wyandotte and Johnson, Kansas At the time of application and continuously through high school graduation, live in and/or be enrolled in a public, charter, or private high school or be home schooled in one of these six counties: Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte, Missouri, and, Wyandotte and Johnson, Kansas*
Income Maximum Threshold $12,000 EFC (Expected Family Contribution as demonstrated by FAFSA4caster at the time of application and FAFSA at the time of the award) $12,000 EFC (Expected Family Contribution as demonstrated by FAFSA or FAFSA4caster) $12,000 EFC (Expected Family Contribution as demonstrated by FAFSA4caster at the time of application and FAFSA at the time of the award)
Citizenship Status Legally present in the United States, as identified by at least one of the following:
·A U.S. Citizen or National of the United States.
·A lawful U.S. permanent resident.
·An individual authorized to live and work in the U.S.
·An individual that has filed an application to begin the process towards U.S. permanent residency.
Legally present in the United States, as identified by at least one of the following:
·A U.S. Citizen or National of the United States.
·A lawful U.S. permanent resident.
·An individual authorized to live and work in the U.S.
·An individual that has filed an application to begin the process towards U.S. permanent residency.
A U.S. citizen or resident alien with a verified permanent U.S. address and valid Social Security Number or other taxpayer identification number.
Grade/Age at Time of Application 11th grader Age 24 or older by time of college enrollment (by August when the college term begins) 9th grader
GPA or College Admissions Test Minimum 2.5 cumulative high school GPA including fall semester of 11th grade, OR, a minimum test score of 16 on ACT or 800 composite on SAT
(Must achieve minimum GPA OR minimum test score to be eligible)
(If test score is not known at the time of application, required minimum must be achieved before high school graduation)
No minimum GPA requirement, but applicants must submit official college transcripts for all institutions attended to demonstrate prior college attendance and credits successfully completed Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA in first semester of 9th grade and achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher through high school
College Student Status NA Applicant has been out of college and not enrolled in college in the 2017-18 academic year but plans to return to college in fall 2018 NA
Previous College Credit Attainment NA Applicant has at least 12 earned college credits previously completed at an accredited, Title IV postsecondary institution. Non-credit bearing or competency-based programs and hours earned from a non-accredited institution are not considered as meeting the 12 college credits previously completed. NA
Attendance at a KCS Postsecondary Network Institution Yes Yes Yes, if in the Match and Incentive Program

No, if in the College Savings Account Program



For those individuals who are eligible to apply and complete and submit their application by the deadline, evaluation criteria are consistently applied to determine which applicants receive a scholarship or a college savings account (and are selected to participate in the match and incentives program). Each year over 100 volunteer community-based reviewers will be selected and trained to utilize a scoring rubric from which they evaluate applicants’ essays and recommendations. Their scores help to determine scholarship recipients. The 100-point rubric considers the most important factors for each of the three program components (traditional scholarship, adult scholarship, and college savings account/match program), including:

  • applicants’ motivation to go to college;
  • applicants’ preparedness for college;
  • applicants’ likelihood to complete college;
  • completeness of essays in addressing prompts;
  • financial need;
  • GPA;
  • county distribution for those selected for the college savings match and incentive program; and
  • assurance of a diverse recipient pool that meets KC Scholars’ established goals.

Application evaluation criteria were determined by the KC Scholars Selection Criteria Workgroup and approved by the Steering Committee when KC Scholars was being planned. These groups were comprised of community members.

Training of volunteer community reviewers includes discussion about implicit bias and explanation of a strict conflict of interest policy. Community reviewers evaluate applications without names and schools attached to the application to further ensure a fair and consistent evaluation process of all applicants.

Awardees – and non-awardees – will be notified in May 2018. Awardees will be assigned a college adviser or college success navigator to assist in applying to and selecting a KC Scholars partner network college. Those not selected for a scholarship will receive ongoing communication from KC Scholars regarding important college-related deadlines and events and be able to access college planning resources available through the website.

If you have additional questions or suggestions, please contact KC Scholars at info@kcscholars.org or 816-581-5700.