Frequently Asked Questions
MAY I APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE STRAUSS FOUNDATION?
No, all students must submit an application to their school. (For specific names of who's overseeing the Strauss Scholarship at your school, see School Deadlines and Contacts.) A faculty committee on campus will select three finalists, whose applications will then be forwarded to the Foundation for the final selection process.
WHY IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE AT MY SCHOOL DIFFERENT FROM THE ONE QUOTED IN THE FOUNDATION'S BULLETIN OF INFORMATION?
Each school has its own deadline date--some weeks BEFORE the Foundation's deadline--to accommodate its process of selecting that school's three finalists, whose applications are then submitted to the Strauss Foundation by our stated deadline.
IF I'M A 4TH-YEAR JUNIOR, MAY I STILL APPLY?
Yes, we encourage sophomores 3rd and 4th year juniors to apply.
I'M NOT SURE IF I WILL PURSUE A CAREER IN PUBLIC SERVICE. SHOULD I STILL APPLY?
By all means. Don Strauss' own career wasn't in public service--he was a business executive (see Donald & Dorothy Strauss)--but he devoted an enormous amount of his time to public service and making a difference.
I MAY BE STUDYING ABROAD SOON. IS THAT A PROBLEM?
Not at all--as along as you'll be around to attend our Spring Meeting and make the presentation about your project. (We are adamant about this requirement.) But otherwise, we've had recipients who applied while they were studying abroad, as well as recipients whose projects were specifically designed for--and were executed in--another country.
WHAT KINDS OF PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
All kinds. We're not trying to be glib here, but provided a project proposal lands squarely in the realm of public service or social change, we're likely to seriously consider anything and everything--the sky's the limit! Generally, however, we do want you to feel passionately about your public service project. The proposal should be well thought out, realistic in its scope (the Board looks favorably on proposals that feature a time line and a budget, and there is a preference for projects that are designed for longevity--that is, your project or program will continue after you've implemented it, after you've finished, moved on, graduated, whatever. That said, we should reiterate that there is no 'ideal' type of project. We have supported a fairly sweeping array of projects that deal with the arts, the environment, health care, education and international relations, to barely scratch the surface (please see Projects We have Funded), and we hope that range will only widen further each year.
IF I RECEIVED A STRAUSS SCHOLARSHIP, I'M WONDERING ABOUT THIS PRESENTATION I'D HAVE TO MAKE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES--FOR EXAMPLE, HOW FORMAL IS IT?
First, although you're merely an imaginary student attending FAQ U., we do like the optimism and confidence behind this question! Second, the presentation is not at all formal. It involves making a 10-minute presentation to the Board and your fellow recipients--we won't invite others to attend this gathering--followed by about 10 minutes of questions & answers from that audience. It should go pretty smoothly, and usually does. After all, you'll be the expert on your project by then, and we urge all recipients to document their projects each step of the way by shooting photos, slides or videos--so incorporating those visual elements into your presentation will make it that much easier. Plus, we can pretty much guarantee that this whole day of presentations (as well as discussions of how we, as a relatively new foundation, can continue to make improvements, and other topics) at our Spring Meeting will be informal, relaxed, breezy, exhilarating, incredibly informative, not to mention full of big laughs and good eats. You'll have a great and highly supportive audience for your presentation.
HOW DOES THE PAYMENT OF THE $10,000 WORK?
That is a good question! It's certainly been a tricky one, now and again, in that each of the participating California Colleges and Universities seems to be governed by different rules and regulations--things even work differently from one University of California campus to the next. In addition, some recipients are on federal financial aid programs, adding far more variables to the equation. But, generally speaking, $8,000 will be available for your project expenses around May 1st, either through direct payment to you or through 'budget add-ons' at your University. Some portion can be used for fees, tuition, books and expenses. No administrative fees will be deducted from your award. The remaining $2,000 is awarded after the Scholar Presentations in April.
DO YOU FUND JOINT OR SHARED PROJECTS?
It is rare but we have awarded scholarships for a project done jointly. We limit the sharing to two recipients, who will split the $10,000 award evenly. Each student should be in charge of a unique and separate aspect of the project and that should be clearly explained and described in the project proposal.
Applications should be submitted together. Each student needs to include all forms: Application Summary, their own personal statement, their resume, Acceptance Agreement and individual transcripts. The joint application should include one proposal, and a total of 3 letters of recommendation - at least one for each student. The third letter of recommendation may include both applicants.