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Application FAQs

  • What kind of grant is the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund?
    The Fund provides need-based grants to students enrolled in an accredited trade or technical school, community college, college, or university who are actively working toward liberation, justice and social change in their communities.This is a scholarship to support day-to-day educational and living expenses.Davis-Putter scholars are both undergraduate and graduate students. Grantees must receive college credits for the time period covered by their grant, it does not matter if students are attending part-time or full-time, or are attending a two-year or four-year program.
  • What kind of students does Davis-Putter support?
    Early DPSF grantees fought for civil rights, against McCarthyism, and for peace in Vietnam. More recent grantees are working toward self-determination for all oppressed people and doing work that does/can potentially undermine the US empire. This work is characterized by opposition to capitalism, racism/white supremacy, patriarchy and gender-based violence, environmental exploitation and/or other forms of systemic harm and oppression. There is a strong preference for applicants who have participated in activities in the US and plan on continuing their work in this country. We value the labor and leadership that it takes to sustain and grow movements. There are people who do more public-facing work, and others who work behind the scenes to make actions and meetings possible. Others do the necessary and important work of team building and conflict transformation within groups. All these, and more, are crucial and valuable components of what it means to build a team, and to sustain movements through the ebb and flow of our current political climate. We want to find people who are inspired to and willing to commit to this work over the long haul, who are committed to their own individual growth and development, and that of the larger movement. The Fund seeks to support the development of active and emerging movement leaders, so it is expected that grantees may be new or emerging leaders. The Fund recognizes that not everyone has access to the same resources and networks and particularly encourages folks from under-resourced regions, those in rural communities, and students outside of major cities to apply. We love to receive applications and support student activists who are from leading social change work on the margins of traditional/mainstream movement activism, and would consider applicants who may not have access to other financial support for the radical work they are holding.
  • If I tell you about the type of work I am doing or my specific activities, will you tell me if I should apply?
    No. You will have to make that judgment yourself. However, we strongly encourage you to review past grantees on the website and the current eligibility information to assess whether your activities are similar in nature. Just because your specific area of activism is not listed in the materials does not mean that you won’t be considered. Each year the trustees look for organizers in diverse communities, organizations and fields who are responding to the needs of the current moment.
  • What if I am not active in the movement for social change but I hope to become involved soon, can I still apply?
    No. This Fund specifically focused on supporting organizers active in movements for progressive social change. No application will be seriously considered without that piece. We do not consider applicants who only aspire to be in those spaces.
  • I am very involved in the type of activism that you have supported in the past and I am going to school, but I can afford to pay my own way. Am I still qualified for a scholarship?
    No. The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund is a need-based grant. We look comprehensively at the applicant’s contribution to social justice, ability to perform academically, relevance of educational program, as well as their financial need. Applicants who do not have a financial need will not be selected.
  • I am still in high school, but I am taking college courses. Can I apply for a grant for these courses?
    Probably not, but you should review the eligibility criteria to check based on your specific context. You must be enrolled at an institution of higher education and be receiving degree credits from that institution. Advanced placement courses while in high school generally do not meet those requirements, though part-time college enrollees who are still in high school may be eligible. For specific questions, please reach out to
  • I have not been accepted by a school yet, but I don’t want to miss out on applying for a scholarship for this year. How can I fill out the application?
    You should indicate on the application that you have not been accepted yet and use the costs related to the school that you expect to attend for the tuition and expense figures. If you are accepted to and choose to attend a school not listed on your application form, we may ask you to send us new information on educational and living costs.
  • What is considered a graduate program?
    Students who have completed their undergraduate degrees or are in joint degree or advanced education programs working for a masters, doctorate, or professional degree (medicine, law, architecture, journalism, etc.) are eligible to receive a scholarship from the Fund. Only rarely does the Fund award grants to students seeking multiple or second advanced degrees.
  • I am taking a year off from school to do field work. Can I get a grant for my living expenses for this period?
    No. You must be enrolled in an educational program and the scholarship must be used at the same time that you are securing college credits for that program.
  • I don’t need money for school, but the community organization I am involved with needs money to pay me for organizing. Can my organization or I get a grant for that purpose?
    No. The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund is a need-based educational scholarship to support day-to-day educational and living expenses, so we only give grants to individual students for their educational program at accredited schools.
  • Is US citizenship required?
    No, but applicants must have participated in activities in the United States and be planning to enroll in an accredited program in the US in order to apply. Because of the goals we have for this scholarship to support the strengthening of movements in the US, there is a preference to award grants to students who are planning on staying in the United States and building the progressive movement here.
  • Why can’t I apply if I am going to a recognized school abroad?
    The Davis Putter Scholarship Fund (and its Board) are US based and are thus most familiar with US based movement spaces. While an application under those circumstances may not be automatically rejected, it is extremely difficult for the trustees to judge the activism, quality of the educational program, or soundness of the future plans of applicants working and living in another country, and such applications are much less likely to be approved.
  • Are applications open to students registered in a Canadian/Mexican university? Although I reside in Canada/Mexico, I am involved with issues that straddle the US border.
    Students whose goals coincide with those of the Fund and who are involved in activism in the United States may apply if they believe they meet the other criteria.
  • Can I apply for a scholarship if I am taking a year to study abroad?
    Yes, provided that you will earn credits toward a degree at an accredited program in the United States during that year.
  • How large are Davis-Putter grants?
    The maximum grant is $15,000 and may be considerably smaller depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the amount of money available.The average grant in 2023-24 was about $7,500. All of the scholarship funds come from the contributions of individual donors.
  • When are applications due?
    Applications must be submitted by April 1. There are no exceptions and late applications will not be accepted. We do not recommend that you wait until the last minute to complete your application. We encourage you to begin your application as soon as you have the current information about the school you will attend, other grants you may receive, your grades, and your projected expenses. Once you register an account, you may log in anytime and your application will be saved.
  • How do I submit my application?
    Applications must be completed online at this link
  • What if I am vision impaired and unable to read the PDF form?
    Contact us by email about alternative format applications.
  • What do I need to complete my application?
    A. The personal statement is a required and vital part of the application. For audio statements: Please submit a single file that is no more than 5 minutes long and ideally with a written transcript to meet the access needs of our Board. (Accepted file types: .mp4., .mov, .wav, .mp3.) For written statements: In the application text box, you will answer the following four questions in no more than 1000 words. Separating each answer with a number. What is your vision for a just future? How does/has your work help us to achieve that vision? Please share more about your current efforts around social/structural change. Include the groups, organizations, or collectives you collaborate with or feel accountable to. How will your education enhance your contributions to movements for social change? Alternatively, if your education does not directly contribute to your capacity for social change, how will your educational goals help you achieve your long-term commitments? Describe your long term plans for your role in movements. minutes long and ideally submitted with a written transcript to meet the access needs of our Board. You should submit only one type of personal statement file. B. You may also upload writings, photos, links, and other documents pertaining to your work that may assist in assessing your application. You will be asked to upload a head-shot to be used for publication/social media if you receive a grant. C. Transcripts of your previous academic work (and the college level, or your high school transcript if you are enrolling in an undergraduate program for the first time). D. You will be prompted to send emails to two people able to evaluate your political work and your contribution to the progressive movement requesting a signed letter of support from each. You will not be able to submit your application without both letters. You are responsible for confirmation that these letters are submitted before April 1. E. Your Student Aid Report (SAR). If you are not eligible for US federal financial aid, a state equivalent or the FAFSA worksheet will be accepted. F. All the information we need in order to reach you by phone, email, or social media in May and June if we have any questions about your application.
  • Can I file an application after the April 1 deadline if I have a good reason for being late?
    Applications will not be accepted after the deadline date. The Davis-Putter Fund expects applicants to start preparing the application sufficiently in advance to accommodate unanticipated problems. We cannot extend the filing deadline for any reason. If you miss the deadline and you are continuing your schooling, you can apply next year if you believe you might qualify then.
  • Why is the Fund so insistent about the application deadline?
    Each year the Fund receives thousands of inquiries and hundreds of completed applications by April 1. In order to make decisions by July, the members of our initial selection committee have to review these applications as promptly as possible. Then, the applications that proceed to the next level have to be sent out for a second review by additional reviewer trustees. After which they may conduct telephone or in-person interviews with the applicants. Then summaries of the finalist’s applications, interview reports, and financial need packages have to be prepared before the annual selection meeting. The cutoff date was set to give us just enough time to go through this process, thus it is impossible to restart the process to consider late applications.
  • Can I submit other material to show my work or activities?
    Yes. You may submit an audio personal statement if writing is not your strong suit, and you may upload additional items to show your work or which better reflect your communication style.
  • I am going to be moving around over the next few months. How do I make sure I receive all necessary communications about my application?
    You will want to give us the email address and phone numbers where we can reach you during May or June, since that is when we may need to contact you for an interview or supplemental information. We strongly recommend giving your personal rather than your university email address. If you are uncertain whether you will be accessible during that period, you can give us the phone number and email address of a family member or friend we can contact and who will know your whereabouts. Of course, you will also want to make certain that you give us your permanent address and information so we can reach you in July, as that is when we notify applicants of our decisions. It would also be helpful to ensure that you include your social media information if you have them, because we also use that to get in touch with applicants if we cannot reach them by phone or email.
  • Is my personal statement about whatever I choose to tell you?
    The Fund seeks to support people working toward self-determination for all oppressed peoples. Grantees are doing work that does/can potentially undermine the US empire - characterized by an opposition to capitalism, racism/white supremacy, hetero patriarchy and gender-based violence, environmental exploitation and/or other forms of systemic harm and oppression. We recognize that building up life-affirming relationships through care webs, transformative justice and mutual aid provide powerful alternatives to state-sanctioned violence. We know that it takes a diversity of labor and leadership to sustain and grow movements, and welcome applicants who are holding public-facing and behind-the-scenes work. You will use the questions below to share more about yourself. For audio statements: Please submit a single file that is no more than 5 minutes long and ideally with a written transcript to meet the access needs of our Board. (Accepted file types: .mp4., .mov, .wav, .mp3.) For written statements: You should answer the following four questions in no more than 1000 words. Please separate each answer with a number. 1. What is your vision for a just future? How does/has your work help us to achieve that vision? 2. Please share more about your current efforts around social/structural change. Include the groups, organizations, or collectives you collaborate with or feel accountable to. 3. How will your education enhance your contributions to movements for social change? Alternatively, if your education does not directly contribute to your capacity for social change, how will your educational goals help you achieve your long-term commitments? 4. Describe your long term plans for your role in movements.
  • How do you want the transcripts submitted?
    We want to see your official transcript. You may scan and upload or save and upload an official online version.
  • Do you want me to submit the transcripts of all of my previous work, even if I am now attending school after being out for a long time?
    Yes. For those attending college we want to see your high school transcripts or transcripts from other recent schooling and coursework. For those attending graduate school, we similarly want to see your official university transcripts or other recent coursework.
  • Who should I ask to write a letter of support?
    The most helpful letters generally come from people who are able to describe your contribution to the progressive movement in a personal and intimate way because they are also involved in that work or know you very well. We would rather you prioritize people who know you over people with impressive titles or name recognition.
  • Once I request letters from recommenders and submit my application, is it complete?
    Your application is not complete until your recommenders upload their letters. You will receive confirmation when they do so, but you are responsible for making sure the letters are submitted by April 1.
  • One of my recommenders is out of the country and won’t be back until after the deadline. Can they submit this one late?
    We would suggest that you find a different recommender if they are unable to upload their letter by April 1. As stated above, we cannot extend or alter the deadline.
  • Can I still get a scholarship even if I have a financial aid package that includes loans to cover my tuition and expenses for the coming year?
    Yes. The trustees will consider granting a scholarship that will reduce the amount of loans that a student must take out for the year.
  • I have a full scholarship for this year, but I need a grant to help me pay off the loans I took out last year. Can I get a scholarship for that purpose?
    No. Scholarships can only be for education and living expenses for the current period of enrollment.
  • Why are you asking for a 12 month budget, when I will only be attending school for 9 months?
    Our scholarship grants are for educational and living expenses for the period you will be attending school between July 1 and the next June 30. However, having an understanding of your yearly expenses helps us to understand your financial need and can support us when making decisions about applicants to award and the level at which to award them. It’s also more likely that those applicants who budget out their expenses or income do so by the calendar year rather than the school year.
  • I will have car expenses for only six months. How do I handle that?
    Even though the number “12” is already showing in the Months column in No. 1 of the financial worksheet, it can be changed to reflect the actual number of months for the expense, and the subtotal will reflect the number you enter. You can also use the three blank lines at the bottom of the living expense section for items that don’t fit into the preprinted categories.
  • How do I enter a one-time expense that won’t be repeated?
    In the applicant financial information, you will find sections to list extraordinary education expense, such as fees or costs of study abroad or a special project, or additional living expenses, such as a one-time moving expense. The amount of the one-time expense will be included as part of your total expenses.
  • If I have too many loans, repayments and other grants to fit on the number of lines allowed for those items, what should I do?
    If you have more items than the spaces provided in Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 you can combine the amounts of the excess items as part of the last amount entry and write “Combined” as the Source. It is extremely important that the totals are correct so that we get an accurate picture of your financial position.
  • Why are you asking for so much information on my parents and family?
    We look at the individual financial circumstances of all applicants in order to understand the way class impacts those circumstances. We want to ensure that we are making space for all the ways that parental and familial income or dependency affect the applicant, their personal expenses, and their financial need while in school. While we ask all applicants to provide us with a full picture of their families, we are not expecting that all applicants have familial contributions, and understand if you do not have a connection to your family in this way or if you support your family. If there are special circumstances that impact your finances, such as siblings financial support or the role you hold to support your family or parents financially, please report this in the space provided.
  • What are FAFSA and SAR?
    FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is available at The information you provide on your FAFSA is verified by the US Department of Education which then prepares a Student Aid Report (SAR) that calculates your financial need (including the total cost of your education) by determining your expected family contribution and your eligibility for a federal grant. This report is then forwarded to the schools you indicated for determination of what other financial aid (federal, state and private) you may be eligible to receive.
  • Why do you want to see the FAFSA and SAR?
    The information on these forms gives the Fund a uniform way to assess the applicant’s financial need. We consider this information, along with the financial information requested on our application form, to determine financial need. Although our primary focus is on the justice work applicants are doing, it is also important that we understand your financial situation because this is a need-based scholarship.
  • What if I haven’t received my SAR yet?
    If you filed your FAFSA in January, as they recommend, you should have received the SAR before the April 1 deadline. FAFSA claims that the turn-around time is 4-6 weeks but it is usually much quicker. If you haven’t received the SAR by April 1, include your FAFSA with any corrections you made when you returned it. If all other qualifications are met and you proceed to the review phase, we will request a copy of the SAR once you receive it.
  • What should I do if FAFSA has sent a SAR but I had to make corrections and send it back to them and I don’t receive the corrected SAR until after the deadline?
    If you have to make corrections and return the SAR and have not received it back by the deadline, upload copies of your FAFSA and SAR with the corrections.
  • What should I do if I am not eligible for US federal financial aid?
    You should submit a state equivalent or print out the FAFSA Worksheet. Fill it out, scan and upload in place of the SAR.
  • I have just arrived at the line for the “Amount requested from the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund.” The difference between my expenses and my available funding is $2,000. I want to ask for $15,000 because I plan on using my savings for future years in college.
    We look at the funding available for only one year because we cannot predict whether a student will get scholarships or funds from other sources in future years. If you enter an amount requested that is greater than the difference between your expenses and available funding, you should include an explanation. It is important to note that while our maximum grant is $15,000, the average grant given in 2022-23 was $7,500.
  • Are grants renewable?
    They are not renewable, though we encourage all applicants to reapply as you continue your schooling and activism. However, you must submit a new application by the April 1 deadline. Numerous grantees have been supported for more than one year though renewals are not automatically guaranteed. You must continue to meet the criteria of the Fund and your application will be considered in the same way as the others we receive.
  • I received a grant last year and am applying for a renewal. Do I have to submit new recommendations and a new personal statement?
    Yes, the Fund finds the letters from the recommenders very helpful in assessing an application and the work you are currently doing. The letters and personal statements for renewal applicants should focus on the most recent activities and perspectives.
  • What if I am in prison, or know someone in prison, who is unable to access the internet?
    We provide printed copies of the form and instructions for applying to those who are incarcerated. Additionally we allow the online application to be completed by a third party in cooperation with the applicant. To request a paper application, please send us the complete address of the incarcerated person by email or send a stamped envelope addressed to the incarcerated person: Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund Post Office Box 7307 New York, NY 10116-7307
  • I have been notified that I have received a Davis-Putter scholarship. If I change my school or program, can I transfer the grant to the new one?
    Grants are issued for the school and program listed on your application. If you need to make a change, contact us in advance of making that change, or as soon as possible after the change has been made, by using the contact information you received with your award letter. We will advise you as soon as possible whether the grant can be transferred.
  • What will happen to my grant if I change from full-time to part-time?
    The amount of your grant is based upon the enrollment status listed on your application. If you change from full-time to part-time, your grant will be reduced (the maximum amount awarded is $7,500 for a part time student v. $15,000 for a full time student). Unfortunately, we are unable to increase the amount of your grant if you change from part-time to full-time.
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