Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

STARS: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a scholarship?
A Foundation scholarship award is a monetary amount given to a CCAC student who has applied and has been selected to receive a scholarship. Scholarships awarded are not meant to cover the entire cost of a student's education, but are intended to supplement a student's funding. Scholarships are provided through the Foundation and are dispersed through the Student Accounts office.

What is STARS?
The STARS Scholarship Tracking and Review System is a quick and easy way for students to apply for scholarships online. The STARS scholarship application wizard leads students through the application process by asking specific questions and tailoring scholarship results. After answering general questions, the STARS system will provide a list of scholarships a student is eligible for. STARS enables students to find, review and apply for scholarships with just a few clicks.

What are the advantages of using the STARS system?
When exploring scholarship options, the Foundation decided to use the STARS system to benefit our students. Students can now apply for multiple scholarships in a matter of minutes, rather than submit multiple paper applications. Even if you do not have Internet access at home, the STARS website can be accessed from any CCAC computer lab or your local library. For more information on CCAC's computer lab hours, please view the ITS Computer Lab webpage. With the exception of the High School to Career Scholarship, the Foundation will no longer accept paper applications.

When is the deadline to apply for scholarships?
The application deadline is set by the Foundation each semester. The Foundation recommends students complete their application as soon as possible.

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When will I be notified if I received a scholarship?
The Foundation will notify students in via email.

If I applied for Foundation scholarships last year, can I still apply this year?
Yes, Foundation scholarships are open to all CCAC students regardless of color, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability or marital status.

If I received a scholarship last year, do I need to reapply?
Yes, Foundation scholarships are posted for both the fall and spring semesters. The scholarships are awarded for either the current academic year or semester.

I am an international student. Can I still apply?
Yes, Foundation scholarships are open to all CCAC students regardless of color, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability or marital status.

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Can I receive more than one scholarship?
Yes, it is possible, but due to the high number of applicants and the limited scholarship funding available, the Foundation strives to award scholarships to as many students as possible.

How many scholarships can I apply for?
You may apply for as many scholarships as STARS recommends for you, as long as you meet all of the criteria for each scholarship. The application wizard will match you to the scholarships for which you most likely are qualified and then you must confirm which ones you actually do qualify for by reviewing each criteria listed for the scholarship before applying. 

What information do I need before I register for STARS?
In order to register for STARS, there are several pieces of information that are required:

  • An active email address that you regularly check
  • A valid CCAC Student ID (seven digit number)
  • Your CCAC GPA
  • Number of credits completed at CCAC
  • Campus you are registered through (i.e. if you take all your classes at West Hills Center, you are registered through North Campus)
  • Major/degree program
  • Degree (AA, AS, AAS, CERT, DIPL)
  • Answers to the following essay questions:
    • Please tell the Scholarship Committee about yourself and why you are attending CCAC. Please do not identify your name, age or race/ethnicity in your essay.
    • How have you been financing your education? Please list any financial aid, grants, outside scholarships (i.e. Pittsburgh Promise, Job Corps, etc), CCAC Scholarships, federal work-study positions, jobs or other aid you have received while attending CCAC.
    • From a financial standpoint, what impact would a scholarship have on your education? How would you use a scholarship from the CCAC Educational Foundation?
    • Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I do not have a CCAC Student ID. How do I obtain one?
Having a seven-digit CCAC Student ID number is necessary for the STARS registration process. If you do not have a student ID, please visit the ITS Student Network Accounts webpage for information on obtaining one.

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I do not know my GPA or how many credits I have completed. Where can I find this information?
To access your GPA and an unofficial copy of your transcripts, please utilize CCAC Central.

I do not have a GPA and have not completed any credits at CCAC. What do I do?
Please answer these required questions with "0."

Do I have to answer the essay questions?
Yes, the essay questions are required. If you fail to completely answer the essay questions, your application will be denied and you will be ineligible to receive scholarship funding. If you experience difficulty in answering the essay questions, the Foundation encourages you to visit CCAC Tutoring Services. The Foundation recommends typing your essays in a program such as Microsoft Word before entering your responses in the STARS system.

Is the information I enter in my application verified?
Yes, the Foundation will verify the information you enter in your application, specifically your GPA, major and number of credits you have completed. The Foundation will also access your transcripts to verify you meet the criteria required for each scholarship. For example, the Peter Paul Reft Endowed Scholarship requires that you receive a "B" grade in both MAT080 and MAT090. The Foundation will check an applicant's transcripts to ensure they meet this requirement.

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What should I do if I experience difficulty registering for STARS?
Please access the STARS User Guide for assistance in registering. If you are still unable to register, please contact the Foundation office at edfdn@ccac.edu or at 412.237.6514. First time users need to click the "START HERE" button in order to register.

What should I do if I receive an error message?
If you receive an error message, first make sure you are using the latest version of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari and ensure that cookies are enabled. If you continue to experience difficulties, please contact the Foundation office at edfdn@ccac.edu or at 412.237.6514.

What should I do if I forgot my password?
If you have forgotten your password, use the "Forgot My Password" link on the STARS login page. If you continue to experience difficulty, please contact the Foundation office at edfdn@ccac.edu or at 412.237.6514.

What is the purpose of the questions in the questionnaire?
The questionnaire is designed to facilitate the scholarship matching process. Your personal and academic information and your questionnaire answers allow STARS to determine whether or not you meet the criteria requirements for Foundation Scholarships. If you fail to provide an answer for the required questions, you will not be able to complete your application.

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Is it safe to enter my personal information in the STARS online system?
All information entered into STARS is secure and will not be shared with any third parties. The Foundation utilizes Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Encryption, which is the transaction security protocol used by websites to protect online communications. SSL Encryption is used to provide protection for confidential data, such as personal details or credit card information, that is entered into a website.

What if my major/degree program is not listed?
Please contact the Foundation office at edfdn@ccac.edu or at 412.237.6514.

Under the Financial Information section, it asks about my occupation. What if I don't have an occupation?
Please answer with either "unemployed," "not working" or "student."

STARS timed out. Now what?
This will happen when the program times out due to inactivity. To avoid this, please type your essays in Microsoft Word or a similar program and then cut and paste them into the required essay text boxes.

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Why are there scholarships in my "Recommended Scholarships" that I am not qualified for?
The STARS system automatically matches you to scholarships based on your answers in the general questionnaire. Each individual scholarship, however, has additional criteria. The Foundation strongly recommends that you carefully read the criteria listed for each scholarship. For example, if a scholarship states that preference will be given to a student who is over the age of 24, this does not mean that a 22-year-old student would not be considered for the scholarship.

What should I do if I don't exactly meet all of the criteria for a specific scholarship?
If you do not meet one or more of the criteria for a specific scholarship, please use your best judgment. If you nearly meet the criteria, it may be in your best interest to apply. However, if you are far from meeting the criteria, do not apply. For example, the South Park Women's Scholarship requires you to be a resident of South Park. If you live in Monroeville, you are not eligible for the scholarship. In all cases, preference will be given to students who meet all of the criteria before others are considered.

The scholarship I am applying for requires an additional essay question. Do I have to answer this?
Yes, to be qualified to receive the scholarship, you must answer the additional essay question.

Why do some scholarships have an award amount and other opportunities say "varies?"
The amount listed for a scholarship is based on the available funding.

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Can I save my application and finish it later?
Yes, but please be sure to click "Save and Exit" in order for your application to be saved. When you return to the site, you will need to log in with your username and password. Please keep in mind that you only have until 4:30 p.m. on the day of the deadline to complete your application.

How do I check the status of my application?
To check the status of your application, please log in to your STARS account. If you have not completed applying for the scholarships you are matched with, you can continue applying for scholarships.

I do not qualify for any scholarships or I did not receive any scholarships. Is there additional funding available?
Please visit the CCAC Scholarships webpage for additional information on scholarships at CCAC.

What if I have a question that is not listed?
Please contact the Foundation office at edfdn@ccac.edu or at 412.237.6514.

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