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For high school graduation years 2021 and earlier

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To apply for an Onward We Learn scholarship you are required to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA is available online at You should file your FAFSA on or after Oct. 1, when the FAFSA form becomes available.

If you are not eligible to fill out the FAFSA, please contact Susan Mansolillo at 401-519-0206 or to make alternative arrangements.

To be eligible for an Onward We Learn scholarship, you must earn admission to an accredited college, university, community college, or (2020 grads and earlier only) trade school. You are eligible for a scholarship for up to six years after high school graduation or receipt of a GED credential. You must request your first scholarship award before you turn 22 years old.

The Onward scholarship can be used at one of the following:

  • Any accredited college, university, community college or (2020 grads and earlier only) trade school in Rhode Island
  • A union apprenticeship or industry training program in Rhode Island
  • One of our out-of-state Scholarship Collaborative Schools (see list below)

Onward We Learn scholarships cannot be used at any schools other than those listed above. If you decide to attend a school that is not in the above categories, you will not be eligible for an Onward scholarship.

Onward We Learn Scholarship Collaborative Schools:

  • Brown University (Providence, R.I.),
  • Bryant University (Smithfield, R.I.),
  • Community College of Rhode Island (Providence, RI)
  • Johnson & Wales University (Providence, RI),
  • New England Institute of Technology (East Greenwich, R.I.),
  • Providence College, (Providence, R.I.),
  • Rhode Island College, (Providence, R.I.),
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, R.I.),
  • Roger Williams University (Bristol, R.I.),
  • Salve Regina University (Newport, R.I.),
  • University of Rhode Island (Kingston, R.I.),
  • Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (Boston, Mass.),
  • Boston University (Boston, Mass.),
  • Dean College (Franklin, Mass.),
  • Emerson College (Boston, Mass.),
  • Grinnell College (Grinnell, Iowa),
  • Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, Mass.),
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.),
  • Syracuse University (Syracuse, N.Y.),
  • Wheaton College (Norton, Mass.),

The policies and practices of scholarship disbursement are left to the discretion of the college you attend. We cannot determine how they set their practices for donating Onward We Learn scholarships. The money for these scholarships comes from the institutions funds, and they have the right to set their own policies.

The amount of an Onward We Learn scholarship awarded will vary depending upon the school you go to and the school’s policies. For students graduating in 2021 and earlier, the scholarship is based on your participation hours. The chart below presents the different levels of participation-based scholarships:

  • Gold Scholarship – 420 or more hours of participation. Up to $4,500 per year for a four-year college or up to $2,585 per year for a two-year college.
  • Silver Scholarship – 281-419 hours of participation. Up to $3,000 per year for a four-year college or up to to $1,725 per year for a two-year college.
  • Bronze Scholarship – 180-280 hours of participation. Up to $1,500 per year for a four-year college or up to $860 per year for a two-year college.

If you attend school less than full time, your scholarship will be prorated based on credit hours.

No, the scholarship is paid directly to the school. Payments are made after your school certifies your enrollment, and financial need. Because payments will reach the school after each enrollment period begins, you may be asked by your school to pay educational costs and then receive reimbursement when the school receives the  scholarship funds.

Yes. An Onward We Learn scholarship can be used for any “legitimate educational expense” after tuition and fees have been paid in full. These expenses may include books, room and board, and transportation. Each school decides what the legitimate expenses are for its students.

Yes. To maintain your scholarship you are expected to meet the minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress determined by your school (typically a 2.0 GPA), and renew your FAFSA annually if applicable.

The Onward We Learn scholarship is a multi-semester award. The number of semesters you are eligible for depends on the type of institution you attend:

  • Four-year school: Eight semesters or 12 trimesters
  • Two-year school: Four semesters
  • Trade school – One year program: Two semesters or three quarters

Trade school (2020 and earlier only) – Two-year program: Four semesters or six quarters

Yes, those attending CCRI can transfer to a four-year Onward scholarship school at any time and continue to receive an Onward We Learn scholarship. However, you cannot receive the scholarship for more than a total of eight semesters (or 12 trimesters) for full time. If attending part time, the scholarship is pro-rated and may exceed the time.

Students in Onward We Learn who graduate from high school or complete a GED credential have six years to attend an Onward scholarship school, whether or not they were previously enrolled in a non-Onward scholarship school.

Yes. The scholarship award we give you cannot exceed the total cost of attendance at the school where you attend. Your award will be adjusted if the school indicates that the award brings the total financial aid package to a level that exceeds the total cost of attendance. Your award offer may also change if there is a change in your financial status as determined by the school.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Susan Mansolillo at 401-519-0206 or

Note: This document simplifies Onward We Learn’s Scholarship policies for informational purposes and does not constitute a legal agreement. Revised July 2018.

Onward We Learn policy prohibits discrimination based upon race, sex, age, gender identity or expression, national origin, religion, color, sexual orientation, veteran status or handicap/disability status.