Flinn Scholarship Benefits and Expectations
Updated March 2021 | 2021 Flinn Scholarship Benefits and Expectations
The Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC, which administers the Flinn Scholars Program, recognizes outstanding scholarship, leadership, and achievement among graduating seniors of Arizona’s secondary schools and provides recipients an unparalleled educational experience. Its purpose is to retain Arizona’s best students in Arizona during their undergraduate careers, enhance the broader pool of outstanding undergraduate students at Arizona’s three public universities, and cultivate the next generation of leaders for Arizona in all professional domains.
The Flinn Scholar designation is accompanied by a grant paid to the recipient’s designated Arizona university, with the funds allocated to helping the Scholar realize his or her educational goals. Only Arizona’s three state residential universities qualify as recipients of these scholarship funds. The Scholars Program pays funds directly to the university to cover educational fees; it cannot release funds directly to the student.
In return for this grant, the Scholars Program expects Flinn Scholars to contribute significantly to the quality of university life, reflecting their individual talents, interests, and potential. Flinn Scholars are expected to exhibit, through academic achievement and personal responsibility, conduct consistent with the principles and ambitions which led the Scholars Program to choose the student for this award.
The total value of each scholarship award is established by the Scholars Program annually in consultation with university officials. For 2021 recipients, this scholarship award carries an estimated value of more than $120,000 over eight semesters (not including summer sessions), subject to annual renewal criteria. The Flinn Scholarship represents a partnership between the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and Arizona’s three public universities, and the monetary award itself is a partnership, with a specific set of benefits:
Tuition and Fees:
- Each Flinn Scholar’s selected university provides the Scholar an award that covers the cost of base and differential undergraduate tuition, as well as mandatory fees and other college-specific fees for eight semesters. Renewal is subject to university criteria.
- The Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC provides each Scholar a “Semester Funds” award of $6,750 per semester for eight semesters towards the cost of room and board expenses in a campus residence hall and, following the freshman year, toward the cost of a campus residence hall or private, university-approved accommodations.
- The Scholars Program requires that all first-year Scholars live in a campus residence hall for the full academic year. Recipients may reside off campus in subsequent years if their university permits doing so. Living at a family residence is not acceptable during any of the four academic years.
- Should a Flinn Scholar face charges for on-campus room and board that exhaust the semester funds provided by the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC, the Scholar’s university will provide a supplemental award to cover the unpaid charges, not to exceed the total costs of the following on-campus room and board option at the Scholar’s chosen university:
- Arizona State University: shared room in Barrett, The Honors College Residential Complex, with the Barrett 14-meal plan;
- Northern Arizona University: shared room in the Honors College Residence Hall, with the 14-meal plan;
- University of Arizona: shared double-suite room in the Honors Village, with the Ocotillo 15-meal plan.
The partnership between the Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program LLC and Arizona’s public universities ensures a wonderful outcome: No Flinn Scholar in good standing must pay out-of-pocket for charges for tuition, mandatory fees, and on-campus room and board. The Scholars Program and the universities want to ensure that Flinn Scholars choose a university to attend based on the right match for their individual preferences, needs, and ambitions.
Tax Information & Use of Funding
The Flinn Foundation Scholarship Program, LLC does not provide tax forms to Flinn Scholars for tax-reporting purposes, nor is the Foundation a tax advisor and as such does not provide tax advice. The purpose of this statement is to provide general tax information to Flinn Scholars.
Scholarships may be subject to income tax. In general, scholarships that cover tuition and fees are tax-free, while money that pays for room and board is not. A form 1098-T, which is an information form, may be issued by the respective university. Determining the taxable amount of the scholarship and filing the appropriate returns is the Flinn Scholar’s responsibility.
The Flinn Scholar is responsible for ensuring Semester Funds are only used for allowable post-secondary educational expenses.
- Proper uses of Flinn Foundation Scholarship Funds for post-secondary educational expenses include: books, supplies, equipment, transportation, housing, health insurance, unreimbursed medical expenses, and tutoring. It is acceptable to save funds for future graduate study, study-abroad, and other academic-related expenses.
- Improper uses of Flinn Foundation Scholarship Funds for post-secondary educational expenses include, but are not limited to: personal travel, entertainment expenses, clothing, and any other non-educational expenses.
[Read the full Flinn Scholarship Study-Abroad Policy]
In addition to direct campus costs, the Scholars Program sets aside funds toward the Scholar’s study/travel experiences. (Typically, Scholars use funding for study-abroad programs outside the country, but in some instances, Scholars pursue study/travel experiences within the United States.) These experiences are intended to complement and broaden a Scholar’s chosen field of study, to provide experiences that might not be available as part of a conventional baccalaureate-degree program, and to increase understanding of the culture and history of other locales and peoples. A portion of the funds is applied to the travel costs associated with a Foundation-funded study/travel seminar for rising sophomores (i.e., the summer between the freshman and sophomore years).
The balance of study-abroad funding is allocated to fund additional study/travel experiences for a summer, semester, or year and other professional-development opportunities as appropriate and approved by the Scholars Program after successful completion of the freshman year. The Scholars Program encourages Scholars to undertake at least two study/travel experiences during their undergraduate careers, including the seminar for rising sophomores organized by the Flinn Scholars Program.
Before securing Scholars Program funding for study/travel, Flinn Scholars submit written plans in accordance with guidelines issued by the Program. Funds may be used only toward the costs of programs sponsored by nonprofit educational organizations that offer academic programs acceptable to the Scholars Program.
Beginning in March 2020, pandemic travel restrictions limited options for Flinn Scholars’ use of travel funds included in the scholarship. We do not anticipate this issue to confront the Class of 2021.
Student Assistance Program
We have partnered with a leading support service, ComPsych®, to provide the following resources (at no charge to the Scholar):
- Confidential emotional support through 24-hour call line by trained ComPsych clinicians.
- Three in-person sessions with a counselor in the Scholar’s area. The three in-person sessions are available to Scholars per issue, so a Scholar could call once with school anxiety and another time due to a family crisis and both would be eligible for three in-person sessions with a counselor.
- Work-Life Solutions – support with a variety of topics (moving, buying a car, etc.).
- Legal Support – an attorney “on call” whenever a Scholar has questions about legal matters.
- Financial Information – access to Certified Financial Planners® and other financial experts.
- Online support in all these areas.
These resources are available to Scholars 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Scholars Program allocates limited funds each year to complement Scholars’ academic and campus experiences, enhance Scholars’ leadership skills, and forge a community of scholars. There are two forms of supplemental activities:
- Activities hosted by the Scholars Program, such as the annual Scholars retreat, field trips, and attendance at special cultural events and lectures. The latter have included opportunities to meet and confer with leaders from education, business, government, and the arts.
- The Scholars Program annually awards funds to each university honors college to underwrite opportunities beyond the normal campus offerings. These funds have been used to sponsor field trips to areas of particular cultural, scientific, or historic significance in the state; secure tickets for cultural events; provide transportation to special events; or sponsor receptions and similar occasions for Flinn Scholars to meet with distinguished scholars, artists, and figures in public life.
All electronic communication from the Scholars Program will be sent to the Scholar’s university email address unless otherwise requested by the Scholar. Scholars are expected to check their email on a consistent basis in order to stay current with Flinn Scholar Program-related communications and respond to requests as needed.
Subject to annual renewal review, the Flinn Scholarship award is granted for up to eight semesters. For purposes of scholarship renewal, the Flinn Scholar is required to submit an annual written report focusing on self-evaluation and goal-setting in coursework, research, campus and community service, and extracurricular activities.
Additional criteria for renewal:
- Continued enrollment as a full-time student at an accredited, public, baccalaureate-degree granting university in Arizona;
- Evidence of satisfactory completion of a full-time course load, which the Scholars Program considers to be no fewer than 12 credit hours per semester;
- Maintenance of a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2 for all academic courses. If a Scholar falls below a 3.2 but is at or above a 3.0, they will be placed on supported status;
- Residence in Arizona during the academic year unless approved for leave of absence, or participation in approved Flinn Scholar travel. Participation in home-university academic programs that require residence outside of Arizona will not be affected by this requirement;
- Indication of satisfactory involvement and personal achievement in extracurricular activities in the campus and/or civic communities, such as student government, intramural or varsity athletics, the development of special artistic or creative talent, and philanthropic or humanitarian activities;
- Participation in at least two Foundation-sponsored activities each academic year;
- Participation in the summer study-abroad seminar for rising sophomores;
- (First-year ASU Scholars) Participation in a 1-credit Community Service Mentoring course.
- Exemplary personal and scholarly conduct, including compliance with applicable laws, campus policies and codes of ethics. A violation of law or campus policies or failure to comply with required codes of ethics or academic standards may be sufficient reason for suspension, cancellation, or non-renewal of the award.
If a Flinn Scholar completes the baccalaureate degree using less than eight semesters of semester funding, unused funds would remain available for distribution through the eighth semester for graduate study in Arizona. This benefit is subject to the same conditions and procedures for award renewal, and the Scholar must enroll in the immediately subsequent semester in a full-time graduate-study program at one of Arizona’s public universities.
Note: Conditions for renewal of the Scholar’s scholarship by the respective Arizona university are subject to terms and criteria established by the university and may differ from Scholars Program criteria and among the universities.
Scholarship recipients must authorize university officials to release to the Scholars Program an official transcript of course work (including grades earned) and personal appraisals and similar information germane to scholarship-renewal criteria and program evaluation. This information is used by the Scholars Program solely for purposes related to scholarship continuation and evaluation and is considered confidential.
Failure to meet renewal criteria may result in being placed on support status or probation.
Transfer of Scholarship
A Flinn Scholar may transfer from one Arizona university to another during or between academic years—if all renewal criteria are met—in accordance with university policies. The scholarship monies will then be paid by the Scholars Program to the newly designated university upon written notice by the student. Except for study-travel programs, scholarship monies cannot be paid or transferred to out-of-state universities.
Leaves of Absence
Flinn Scholars may request a leave of absence for many reasons unrelated to their academic achievement. These include but are not limited to: health, family emergencies, and opportunities for exceptional academic or professional-development activities. Leaves of absence occasioned by a failure to maintain university or Scholarship Program academic or behavioral standards are treated under the probation policy below.
The Scholarship Program allows students to take up to four semesters (two academic years) of leave. These semesters may, but need not, be taken consecutively. A student must complete one academic year in the Scholars Program before being eligible for leave.
Flinn Scholars must abide by all rules established by their university for applying for leaves of absence and for re-entry to the university. It is the Scholar’s responsibility to consult with the appropriate university offices in advance of the proposed leave of absence.
Flinn Scholars requesting a leave of absence must file a request in writing with the Scholarship Program indicating the anticipated dates of the leave and the reason for it. Except in cases of medical or family emergency, Scholars should file this request at least six weeks before the intended start of the leave. Scholars must also request reinstatement to the Scholarship Program in writing at least six weeks before the beginning of the semester of their return.
Scholars may not receive Semester Funds during their leave.
If a student’s Semester Funds for the “on-leave” semester have already been released by the university, the student should promptly notify the university of the change in status; if appropriate, the Scholarship Program will request a refund of the unexpended funds by the university. If the university has released any portion of Semester Funds to a student and the student has withdrawn from classes and failed to fulfill university requirements, the student will forfeit the Semester Funds for that semester and be placed on probation by the Scholarship Program for the next regular semester. This probation remains in effect until there is sufficient evidence of full compliance with Scholarship Program renewal criteria.
Flinn Scholars must maintain a 3.2 or higher cumulative grade-point average. If a Scholar falls below a 3.2 but is at or above a 3.0, the student will be placed on supported status. Being placed on supported status will result in periodic meetings with Flinn Scholars Program staff, university staff, and (potentially) parents when appropriate. If the student’s cumulative grade-point average continues to be at or above a 3.0 and below a 3.2 and the student demonstrates that they are working with Foundation staff and university support services, that student will not be placed on probation. A Scholar will be taken off supported status once their cumulative grade-point average is at or above a 3.2.
If placed on probation, the Flinn Scholar is notified in writing of failure to comply with renewal criteria prior to July 15, in advance of the next academic term. The student is notified that their status as a Flinn Scholar is suspended until the minimal expectation for renewal is achieved.
Probationary status can last one semester or one full academic year (two semesters), but no longer. A student who has completed one semester on probation and regained Flinn Scholar status, only to fall below the Scholarship Program’s minimum criteria once more, can again be granted probationary status, but for no more than one additional semester.
Removal from the program is the most serious punitive action taken by the Scholarship Program and will be based on a review of all applicable evidence compiled by Scholarship Program staff. Removal is automatic in cases of failure to recover standing after two semesters of probation and/or other failures to maintain basic renewal criteria, breach of university regulations resulting in formal disciplinary action, evidence and conviction of a felony, and/or fraud in the use of Scholarship Program funds or misrepresentation of personal and academic data submitted to the Scholarship Program. Written notice will be given to students removed from the Scholarship Program. No reinstatement process is available.
Scholars on leave or probation may be eligible to participate in Scholarship Program-sponsored activities. Situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Scholars Program Commitments
In awarding this scholarship, the Scholars Program may adjust the total amount of funding annually to reflect changes in the costs of the various components of this award. It also reserves the right to amend the provisions and requirements of the award, or even cancel the program, if future legislative actions or IRS rulings, in the opinion of legal counsel and/or the Scholars Program, are such as to require substantive changes in the features of this program. It is expressly understood that in making this award, the Scholars Program has no obligation to provide other or additional support to the scholarship recipient for any purpose beyond those specified.
It is our understanding that federal tax laws affecting scholarship awards exempt only the tuition and required-books portion of this award from possible taxation as part of the gross income of recipients. Thus, to the extent this scholarship or additional scholarship awards result in an amount in excess of university tuition, required books and supplies, it is potentially includable in the recipient’s gross income. The Scholars Program cannot be held responsible for the potential tax consequences of this award and recommends that students and their parents confer with their tax advisors regarding the tax treatment of scholarships.