How Income-Based Scholarships Are Awarded
In order to prove their eligibility, households must complete AAA’s online application and provide supporting documentation. The households must meet both, the state and AAA’s requirements (see state charts on the applications). Each household member is required to provide proof of income. AAA does not rely on a household’s enrollment in a state food assistance or TANF program as proof of eligibility, a process sometimes referred to as “direct certification,” since those programs audit less than 3 percent of their recipient households.In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, the household must reapply annually. In Arizona scholarships may be automatically renewed for multiple years without reapplying.
Parents can check the status of their application by clicking on the “Check the Status of your Application” link. Once applications are “Completed,” the application processor (PSAS) has one week to perform a final review before releasing the applications to AAA. If the applications pass PSAS’ review, AAA performs an audit on them and then mails out determination letters within two weeks.
Households that are determined eligible AND have received funding for the upcoming school year will receive 1) a Scholarship Award Letter and 2) a School Commitment Form (SCF) in the mail directly from AAA. The use of a scholarship cannot be postponed. The household must find an eligible private school for their student(s) as soon as they receive a scholarship award letter and SCF. Failure to meet the deadline stated on the SCF will result in the forfeiture of the awarded scholarship. Families should make a copy of the blank SCF before taking it to an eligible private school in case they decide to transfer to a different eligible private school later in the year. By completing the SCF, both the parents and the schools agree to abide by the terms of the AAA Parent/School Handbooks.
Schools should not accept any students without an SCF unless the household: 1) is willing to self-pay their tuition and fees until they are awarded a scholarship and 2) will self-pay if they are not. If a household receives a SCF in error or their eligibility is revoked, the private school that has enrolled the student will be notified as soon as possible. By accepting the scholarship student(s) and scholarship payment(s) the private school agrees to repay any incorrectly made or overpayment of funds on behalf of the student(s), regardless of the reason. Households that document eligibility but are placed on a waitlist do not have a scholarship unless they receive a Scholarship Award Letter and SCF at a later date.
Four times during the school year, AAA sends the school a verification form to ascertain whether the student remains enrolled and is current on any funds personally owed to the school. Once returned or once received, AAA disburses one quarter of the scholarship award in the form of a check, made payable to the parent/guardian but for deposit only by the school. The parent/guardian must restrictively endorse the check over to the school before it can be deposited.