The Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation: Scholarship Opportunities for the Class of 2024

College is an exciting time for high school students to further their education and prepare for their future careers. However, the costs of higher education continue to rise each year, putting financial stress on students and families. Programs like the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation help alleviate that burden by providing merit-based scholarships to deserving local students. We will consider all the details around the CSF Class of 2024 scholarship application process to help you determine if you are eligible and give you the best chance at receiving an award.

What is the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation?

The Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation (CSF) is a non-profit organization that has been awarding merit-based scholarships to graduating high school seniors in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region since 2003. Their mission is to make a college education attainable for as many local students as possible by supplementing other forms of financial aid.

CSF supports over 1,300 students each year across 30+ private and public high schools in the tri-state area. Since its inception, they have awarded over $60 million in scholarships through individual grants and their partnership programs. Scholarship funds come from individual and corporate donors who believe every student deserves the opportunity to further their education, regardless of financial circumstances.

Scholarship Application Process

The application process for the CSF Class of 2024 scholarships opens in September 2022 and remains open until mid-January 2023. Here are the key steps and requirements:


Applicants must be a high school senior graduating from a participating high school located in Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, or Southwest Ohio. Students must also meet minimum GPA requirements (usually around a 3.0 unweighted) and plan to attend a 2-year or 4-year accredited college or university in the fall after graduating high school.

Application Form

The initial application is completed entirely online through the CSF website. It requests basic biographical information as well as academic information like GPA, class rank, honors/awards, extracurricular activities, and essay responses. References from teachers are also required.

Supporting Documents

In addition to the application form, students must submit an official high school transcript, an acceptance letter from their college of choice, an FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR), and family financial information. All forms and documents are submitted digitally.


As part of the application, students write two short essays. The first is a personal statement on goals, interests, and anything else they want CSF to know about them. The second describes how receiving a CSF scholarship would help them realize their educational and career goals.

Admissions Index & Interviews

Once complete applications are received by the January deadline, CSF reviews each applicant’s file holistically, considering GPA, class rank, honors/awards, activities, and essay responses. Top applicants are invited to interview in person or virtually in February/March. CSF uses all information to calculate an Admissions Index score for final ranking.


Scholarship award decisions are made by early April. Students not selected for a full award may be placed on a waitlist in case additional funds become available. The result of each application will be communicated to all applicants by mail.

Maintaining Eligibility

To keep their CSF scholarship for all four years of undergraduate study, recipients must maintain full-time enrollment of at least 12 credit hours per semester, achieve a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA each academic year, submit grades/progress reports annually to CSF, and notify CSF of any changes in contact information, college, major, or financial need.

Scholarship Amounts

Each CSF scholarship is unique to the individual, determined by a student’s level of demonstrated need and merit according to the information provided in their application. Scholarship awards can range from $1,000 to $20,000 per year. The number and amounts of annual awards vary depending on available funds each year.

In addition to individual scholarships, CSF offers partnership programs in collaboration with area non-profits and corporations that provide cohort scholarships for students meeting specific eligibility criteria:

  • Delta Airlines Pathways Scholarship: $5,000 renewable award for children of Delta employees.
  • Cincinnati Bell Innovation Scholarship: $5,000 renewable award + summer internship for students interested in STEM fields.
  • Cintas Scholarship: $4,000 renewable award for children of Cintas employees.
  • Western & Southern Scholarship: Renewable awards ranging from $5,000-$10,000 for academically talented students from specific local high schools.
  • GE Partnership Scholarship: Renewable $5,000 award + summer internship for top applicants interested in engineering or manufacturing.

Scholarships are specifically targeted for college costs like tuition, fees, books, supplies, and living expenses. Funds are sent directly to the student’s college each semester/year to be applied toward their student account. All told, CSF scholarship recipients will graduate with significantly less student loan debt burden than if they had to rely solely on loans and other aid to fund their higher education.

Choosing a College

When it comes to choosing which college to attend with a CSF scholarship, students have flexibility but should make financially conscious decisions. Scholarship awards are meant to stretch as far as possible to cover four years of undergraduate study. With that in mind, here are some tips for selecting a college:

  • Consider in-state public college/university options first, where costs will generally be lower compared to private or out-of-state schools.
  • Research college costs and compare net price (what you actually pay after grants/aid) through each potential college’s Net Price Calculator on their website.
  • Consult with your high school guidance counselor and the CSF guidance counselor about estimated costs and how close CSF’s award may come to fully covering your expenses at different colleges.
  • Be wary of taking on significant student loan debt if the college is more expensive than the annual CSF award amount. Work with your college’s financial aid office about options to reduce costs.
  • Inform CSF of your final college decision after receiving acceptances so they know where to send scholarship funds each semester/academic year.

With careful planning and judicious college selection, most CSF recipients can graduate with a bachelor’s degree debt-free or with minimal loan amounts if they maintain their commitment to academic success. CSF is here to support students throughout the entire undergraduate journey.

Maintaining Your Scholarship

As mentioned earlier, to keep their renewable CSF scholarship for up to 4 years of college, recipients must meet certain academic and enrollment requirements on an annual basis:

Maintain Full-Time Enrollment

This means taking a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. Dropping below full-time can jeopardize the scholarship. Recipients must inform CSF immediately if extenuating circumstances require a reduced course load.

Earn the Required GPA

CSF requires scholars to maintain a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA each academic year. Your college sends your annual transcripts to CSF, so carefully monitor your grades and get help through tutoring/professors if you are struggling in any classes.

Submit Progress Reports

By June 1st of each year, you must log into your CSF account and complete a brief online progress report. This requests information about your enrollment, GPA, academic progress towards your degree, any changes to college or contact details, and how the scholarship has helped you thus far.

Notify CSF of Changes

Updating CSF about changing majors, colleges, grade levels, and contact details like phone number and address through your online account ensures timely delivery of scholarship funds. Unreported changes may affect disbursement. CSF should also be informed in the rare event credits are repeated or a leave of absence is taken.

Look Out for Opportunity Scholarships

In addition to the original renewable scholarship, CSF offers one-time Opportunity Scholarships of up to $5,000 for outstanding scholars in their sophomore, junior, or senior years who show exceptional academics, leadership traits, or community service involvement. Maintaining a stellar college career may lead to extra scholarship support.

By communicating regularly with CSF and upholding your end of the agreement, the scholarship will be there funding your education through graduation. Their goal is for each scholar to complete their degree on time fully supported. Take advantage of everything CSF has to offer for your success!

Additional Benefits and Opportunities

Aside from financial support, CSF also provides scholars with valuable career and personal development resources:

Career Exploration Events

These include panel discussions, site visits to local companies, and networking meals where scholars can learn about different career paths and industries directly from professionals. Great way to narrow your interests.

Internship Program

CSF partners with over 100 companies where scholars can gain professional experience and on-the-job training for academic credit during the summer between junior and senior years of college. Interns are often later hired full-time by these companies.

Mentor Program

All incoming scholars are paired with an experienced alumni or community mentor related to their intended career field to offer guidance, advice, and exposure to real-world experiences through their shared interests. Lifelong connections to make.

Leadership Development

Scholars are encouraged to participate in a variety of interactive workshops focused on life skills like public speaking, interviewing, financial literacy, grad school applications, and more. Beneficial for both academics and future careers.

Events & Networking

CSF hosts social and professional development events throughout the year where current scholars and alumni can connect, collaborate with guest speakers, and expand their networks. Lasting relationships are established.

By fully engaging with all CSF has to offer, recipients get the most value possible from their scholarship. In addition to the direct financial support making college affordable, the career guidance, mentorship connections, and leadership training provided by CSF give scholars an immense advantage as they prepare to graduate and embark on their professional journeys.


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