Scholarship Frequently Asked Questions
How are winners chosen each year?
The GFIA Education Foundation uses a third party company, International Scholarship and Tuition Services (ISTS) to select scholarship recipients. ISTS is an objective judging company that reviews all of the completed applications and determines award recipients based on pre-determined critera. Online applications are available at https://aim.applyists.net
Who is eligible to apply?
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for the scholarship program:
• You must be a high school senior; college freshman, sophomore or junior; or a student at a vocational/technical institution. On-line accredited college programs may be eligible.
• You must enroll as a student in the Fall of 2022. Payments cannot be held or be retro-applied. Exceptions can be considered but require advance approval before winners are announced.
• You must be an employee of a GFIA member company or a dependent son or daughter of a full-time GFIA member company employee.
• The parent-employee must have been employed for at least one year as of January 1st.
• The student-employee must have been employed for at least six months as of January 1st.
• You or your parent/guardian must be employed by the GFIA member company at the time awards are announced. You or your parent/guardian must remain employeed at the time funds are distributed. Winners are confirmed in April and must formally accept awards in May. Checks are distributed in July. Exact dates vary year to year. Exceptions can be submitted and reviewed IF the employee is eligible for rehire. If you notify your employer that you are leaving for college and will no longer be employed in July, exceptions can be submitted and reviewed if the employee is eligible for rehire (ie in good standing).
• Foundation awards are available to all current GFIA member companies; retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. This includes Georgia based/serviced stores, offices and active representatives. Home offices that are outside of Georgia but are active with the GFIA are also eligible. Out of state locations serviced by their Georgia division are also eligible for that company's Piggyback Awards only. Applicants from out of state store locations will not be eligible for other Foundation awards. Applicant employer locations will be reviewed and final decision is that of the GFIEF.
When is the application deadline?
March 15, 2022
Who administers the scholarship program and determines winners?
To ensure complete impartiality in selection of recipients and to maintain a high level of integrity, our scholarship program is administered by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. [ISTS], a firm that specializes in managing sponsored scholarship programs.
Decisions of the selection committee are final and are not subject to appeal.
What are the selection criteria?
An independent selection committee from ISTS will evaluate the applications and select recipients based on the following criteria:
· Individual award requirements
· Academic achievements and records
· Industry work experience
· Community and extracurricular involvement
· Essay content (only required for the Career Path awards)
Please refer to the Available Scholarships page for more information regarding individual award criteria and essay requirements.
Are essays required?
Only if you are applying for one of the Career Path Awards. Please refer to the Available Scholarships page for more details.
How many awards do you give out each year? How much money is each award?
• Although the number of available scholarships varies each year, we typically award
over 100 scholarships worth over $100,000 annually.
• Students may reapply each year as long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
• The award amounts range from $500 to $4,000.
What kinds of expenses can I pay with the funds? Which schools are eligible?
• The scholarships will be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for course load at accredited two or four-year colleges/universities or vocational/technical institutions in the United States. On-line, accredited college programs may be approved.
• A number of scholarships can be applied to for-profit institutions. All scholarships can be applied to nonprofit institutions.
Which school should I list on the application if I have not made a final decision?
You should list your first choice on the application.
How do I change my college choice?
You may update your final school choice on the My Profile page at https://aim.applyists.net. If you are chosen to receive an award, it will be your responsibility to make sure your college is updated at least 30 days prior to the check issue date stated in the award notification so your check can be issued accordingly. This will not update any application or acceptance forms; however, all awards are issued based on the My Profile page.
Students may transfer from one institution to another and retain the award.
How do I know if my application is complete?
Allow five to seven business days after uploading documents for your online status to update. You may monitor the status of your application on your home page at https://aim.applyists.net.
• Not Started: the form has not been requested or started.
• Started: the form has not been submitted and will not be considered.
• Submitted: the form has been submitted, but is not Complete.
• Complete: all required forms and attachments (if applicable) have been received and your application will be considered for the scholarship.
You may also monitor the status of your attachments and recommendations (if applicable).
• Not Received: the attachment has either not been received or has been rejected.
• Requested: the form request has been created, but the form has not been started.
• Processing: the attachment has been received and is being reviewed.
• Accepted: the attachment has been verified and accepted by ISTS.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the progress of all application requirements to make sure the application is complete. The status Complete will display on the home page when all forms have been received and all documents have been verified.
YOUR APPLICATION WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS IT IS “COMPLETE”. PLEASE VERIFY YOUR APPLICATION STATUS BEFORE MARCH 2nd!!
I uploaded a document that no longer displays on my application. Do I need to submit it again?
Previously uploaded documents that are no longer displayed with a status on the home page have been rejected. The most common reasons for a rejected document are:
• The document uploaded is not one of the accepted file types [.pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps].
• The document uploaded was not the document requested.
• Not all pages of the document were contained in the file.
• We cannot open the file. The file may be corrupted or password protected.
Refer to the upload section of your application for the details of the required documents and upload a new file that meets the criteria stated.
How do I upload more than one file at a time?
You may create a .zip file containing more than one file as long as every file included is in an acceptable format (.pdf, .tif, .png, .gif, .jpeg, .jpg, .bmp and .xps).
Where and when should I send my supporting documents?
The required supporting documents must be uploaded to your online application by the application deadline. If you do not follow the upload instructions, your application may not be considered. Documents that meet the criteria required for the scholarship application, and are uploaded by the deadline, will be processed and considered on time.
YOUR APPLICATION WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED UNLESS IT IS “COMPLETE”. PLEASE VERIFY YOUR APPLICATION STATUS BEFORE MARCH 8!!
How and when will I receive notification of results?
• Notifications are sent to all applicants via email around May 1. For award recipients, an Acceptance link will be displayed on the home page following notification. You must formally accept your award to receive funds.
• Add email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to your email address book or “safe senders list” to ensure these important emails are not sent to your junk mail folder.
• Do not ‘opt out’ of any email sent from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you opt out, you may not receive vital information regarding your scholarship applications.
Note: Your email address will only be used to communicate with you about your scholarship applications or other opportunities administered by ISTS for which you may be eligible to apply. We will not provide your email address to any third parties.
What are my responsibilities if I am chosen as a recipient?
You must ACCEPT your award by the stated deadline via an acceptance link sent to the email address you provide on your profile page. Funds will not be released if you do not accept by the deadline.
You must enroll as a full-time undergraduate student in the fall of the year in which the scholarships are awarded, continue the entire academic year without interruption (unless approved by your scholarship sponsor), deliver your scholarship check(s) to the proper office at your institution, and notify ISTS should your check not arrive within 30 days of the issue date.
How and when are checks issued?
Checks will be issued in July to each recipient’s mailing address and are made payable to the institution on the profile page.
Are scholarships taxable?
Tax laws vary by country. In the United States, scholarship funds used exclusively for the payment of tuition or textbooks are normally not taxable. The scholarship recipient is responsible for taxes, if any, that may be assessed against his or her scholarship award. We recommend consulting your tax advisor for more guidance. You may also consult IRS Publication 970 for further information (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf).
My parent’s employment makes me eligible for this scholarship. Whose contact information should I include?
Applicants must register with their personal email addresses. Do not use a parent’s work email address. Parent email will be requested as a secondary contact. Your “My Profile” page should reflect the applicant’s (the person who is attending school) legal name and contact information.
Still have questions?
For additional information regarding the scholarship program contact ISTS or call toll free (855) 670-ISTS (4787).