VCCF Scholarships go fully digital as application season begins

CAMARILLO, CA - The Ventura County Community Foundation introduced on Monday an entirely online scholarship application system for the 2015-2016 awards, designed to make applying easier for students and VCCF volunteer reviewers and better for the environment.

"This all-digital process increases our ability to assure donors that the students they wish to assist will get the aid they need. In addition, the elimination of thousands of paper records will allow VCCF to be a better steward of our environment," VCCF Interim President and CEO Stacy A. Roscoe said.

VCCF is partnering with STARS Online, a scholarship-management software, to streamline the application process. Students complete their applications on the password-protected STARS Online software, and electronically submit their personal essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Based on answers they submit, the STARS algorithmic software will determine a student's eligibility for a scholarship. This lessens the chances students will apply for an award for which they are ineligible.

Previously, students were required to hand in at the VCCF offices up to five hard copies of their applications, essays and transcripts. The paperwork then was reviewed by volunteers who made thousands of photocopies, according to Virginia Weber, program officer.

"Volunteers now can focus on reading applications and essays, getting to know the students better, and determining how to best allocate the financial aid we have available," Roscoe said.

The community foundation has awarded scholarships worth more than $10.7 million since its founding in 1987 and is the local leader in granting financial aid to Ventura County youth. The foundation is on track to award $1.3 million in scholarships for the 2015-2016 school year.

Students can receive technical support through STARS Online. The foundation also posts tips and a countdown reminder for applicants on its Ventura County Community Foundation Scholarship Facebook Page.

The 2015-2016 school-year application deadline is Jan. 12, 2015.

To view how to apply on the STARS Online website, go to Or contact Virginia Weber at