The selection criteria are identical for all applicants, regardless of whether they attend a directly participating high school and submit an application through their school, or attend a non-directly participating high school and submit their application through the Community Foundation.

The Foundation focuses primarily on providing scholarships to assist African-American students. Other minority students are welcome to apply; however, African-American applicants will receive preference in the awarding of scholarships. All applicants must intend to and, if awarded a scholarship, actually declare a major in the physical sciences, as defined by the Sunburst Foundation. Applications are evaluated on the basis of each student’s high-school academic performance and his or her financial need. The Foundation’s goal is to identify and support students who are most likely to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree course of study in the physical sciences at the college level and who demonstrate financial need.

Directly Participating High Schools

Applicants who attend directly participating high schools must submit a completed Sunburst Foundation application and provide transcripts, supporting documents, and other information as required. The application also requests information from parents. Completed applications must be submitted only through the Guidance Department at the participating high school. Applicants may not communicate directly with the Sunburst Foundation. Applications not submitted in accordance with the above procedures will be rejected.

Applicants who are selected as finalists must attend a personal interview with members of the Sunburst Foundation’s selection committee, Interviews are typically conducted in March and the finalist’s attendance at the interview is mandatory. Finalists are typically notified of the decision regarding their scholarship application in April or May.

Prior to a college receiving funding, both the student and the college are required to sign a Sunburst Scholarship Agreement which outlines the terms and conditions of the scholarship. Receipt of scholarship funds is contingent upon the student maintaining a 3.0 grade point average in college and is also contingent upon compliance with all other requirements of the Scholarship Agreement. The scholarship award is made for only one (1) academic year, but is typically renewed if all scholarship criteria are met in subsequent years of study. Students who meet scholarship criteria beyond the first year of college are not required to re-apply but must sign a new Scholarship Agreement each year.

Community Foundation

Applicants who do not attend one of the directly participating high schools must submit a completed scholarship application and provide transcripts, supporting documents, and other information as required by the Community Foundation. The application also requests information from parents. Completed applications must be submitted through the Community Foundation. Applicants may not communicate directly with the Sunburst Foundation. Applications not submitted in accordance with the above procedures will be rejected.

Applicants selected as finalists for scholarships administered by the Community Foundation must attend a personal interview with the Community Foundation’s selection committee. The interviews typically occur in the spring each year and the finalist’s attendance at the interview is mandatory. Finalists are typically notified of the decision regarding their scholarship application in late spring.

Prior to a college receiving funding the student and the college are required to sign an agreement regarding the Community Foundation scholarship which outlines the terms and conditions of the scholarship. Receipt of scholarship funds is contingent upon the student maintaining a 3.0 grade point average in college and is also contingent upon compliance with all other requirements of the Community Foundation program. The Community Foundation scholarship awards are usually multi-year awards, but are typically disbursed only if all scholarship criteria are met in subsequent years of study. Students who meet scholarship criteria beyond the first year of college are not required to re-apply but must sign a new agreement with the Community Foundation each year.