Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate the cost of college if I am not living on campus?

If you are living at your family’s home, use only the billed tuition and fees for your college and then add $3,000 instead of room and board costs. This is the commuter allowance, which recognizes that there are extra costs for commuters, even though they don’t pay rent or buy food. If you are living off-campus or if you are an independent student, you still use the school’s costs for room and board as a way to approximate the costs you have for living on your own.

How do I know if I am eligible to apply for a Phillips Scholarship?

Check the Criteria to Apply to see if you are eligible.

Can I send information in through the mail and not through the internet?

All applications must be completed using the online application.

Do I need to know which college I will be attending before I complete the application?

Yes, you will need to make a final decision before you can complete the application. In order to calculate your eligibility for the Phillips Scholarship, you will need to know the actual cost of the college you’ve chosen and the financial aid award from your college. Your financial eligibility will likely be different for each school you are accepted to, so you will need to know which school you will be attending in order to accurately calculate your eligibility. The deadline for the scholarship is noon May 1st to allow applicants to choose which school they will be attending and to receive the financial aid letter from the school. That said, you can begin your application and also view the sample application before you have made your final decision.

High school students applying for an early response using the New Application for High School Students by April 3rd will need to provide financial information for the college they plan to attend. For more information about the early response option, please click here.

How do I know if my application is submitted successfully? Does it automatically submit when I sign it?

Your application will not be submitted until you complete all of the required fields and navigate to the Review and Submit page. At the bottom of the Review and Submit page you will be asked to certify that you have reviewed your information and completed all the required fields. You will then need to click on “Submit My Application” to submit your application. Once your application has been submitted, you will see a screen saying “Thank you for submitting your application!” and you will receive an email confirming that your application has been submitted.

Can I work on the application on an iPad?

The application can be completed on a computer, iPad or a tablet.  It cannot be completed on a phone. The application works best in Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers. If you must use Internet Explorer, be sure you have the most up-to-date version of IE.

I am having trouble logging back into my application.

In order to log back into your application you will need to use the same email address that you used when you began your application. You will also need the security token you created. To resume your application, please click here. If you still cannot access your application, look for the “Forgot your login information? Click here to reset it” at the bottom of that page. Then check your email for directions to reset your security token. Be sure to check your spam and junk folders if it does not come to your inbox.

PLEASE NOTE: The “Forgot your login information?” option will only work if you are using the email address you used when you started your application. If you still cannot reset your security token in order to return to your application, please call our office at 978-744-2111 or email us at


How do I upload documents to my application?

To upload documents, press “Choose File”, navigate to the file on your computer that you want to upload, and select it. You can see when the upload is complete because the text “no file chosen” is replaced by the name of your file. When you save the page and move out of it, the name of your uploaded file will show to the far right of the upload field. Although you can view the name of the uploaded file, you cannot view the uploaded document itself. If you think you may have uploaded the wrong file, you may upload another file to replace the first upload. You can only do this until you submit your application. Once you submit your application changes are not possible. If you need to update a document in your application after it has been submitted, please email us at or call 978-744-2111.

How do I take a screenshot of information on my computer that needs to be uploaded as a file to my application?

Taking Screenshots

If you have information that is required to complete your application accessible on a website, do not send us the web link. Instead, take a screenshot of the website to upload to your application.

Please be sure that your name or your student ID number, as well as your college name, show on the screenshot. If your screenshot includes the website URL, that will often provide the college name.

How to Take a Screenshot on a PC:

  • The “Print Screen” button may be labeled “Prt Sc”, “Prnt Scrn”, “Print Scrn”, or similar. On most keyboards, the button is usually found next to the “F12″ and “Scroll Lock” keys. On laptop keyboards, you may have to press the “Fn” or “Function” key to access “Print Screen”.
  • Looking at the screen you want to save, hold down the “Alt” key and press “Print Screen”.
  • Open Microsoft Paint. To open Paint, open the Start menu, click on “All Programs,” click on “Accessories,” and click on “Paint” to open it.
  • Right-click on the canvas and select “Paste.” Your screenshot will be pasted onto the canvas.
  • Save the file using “save as” and upload it. Paint will automatically save your file as .PNG, which is fine.

How to Take a Screenshot on a Mac:

  • To capture the entire desktop, press Command-Shift-3.
  • The screen shot will be automatically saved as a .PNG file on your desktop. Rename the file so that you can easily recognize it (for example, “SARscreen.png” or “FinAid.scrnshot.png” then upload it in the normal manner.

Combining Multiple Files as One

If you have used multiple screenshots to capture a document that you need to upload, you must combine them into one document to upload.

How to Combine Files in Word:

  • Open a new blank Word Document.
  • Click “Insert” and “Picture” and then select the file that you created from a screen shot (or from a photo taken by a smart phone).
  • Insert the first screen shot. Make sure that the information is readable. Then move the cursor below the first screen shot but still on the same page.
  • Click “Insert” and “Pictures” again and navigate to the second file. Insert that file.
  • Do this until all screen shots are in that word document. Save the word document (as .doc or .docx). Even if it is multiple pages, it is still only one file and will upload successfully.

How to Combine Files in Adobe Acrobat:

Many personal computers run Adobe Reader, which does not have the same capabilities as Adobe Acrobat. Make sure you are using Adobe Acrobat to combine files this way.

  • Open Adobe Acrobat.
  • Click on the “Create” button and select “Merge Files into a Single PDF” from the dropdown.
  • A new window will open. Click on the “Add Files” button to browse for the PDF files that you would like to combine. You can select these saved files from your desktop.
  • Use the “Move Up” and “Move Down” buttons to put your PDFs in the correct order. Make sure that “Single PDF” is checked.
  • When you have added all the PDFs you would like to combine and have ordered them correctly, click “Combine Files.” Then Save your new PDF.

How to Combine Files on a Mac using Preview:

  • Open all the PDF documents that you want to combine in Preview.
  • Select each Preview window, then choose View > Thumbnails to open the Thumbnails pane.
  • Select the thumbnails of the pages you want to move. You can press the Shift key or the Command key while clicking each page thumbnail to select multiple thumbnails at once.
  • Drag the thumbnails from one PDF window to the thumbnails pane of the other PDF window. Move your pointer to where you want the pages to appear in the PDF. Release your pointer to move the pages to the location you’ve selected.

Note: When dragging the thumbnail to the top or the bottom of the thumbnail pane, a divider line may appear. To ensure your pages are inserted into the current document, do not drag the thumbnail beyond the divider line.

  • If you need to re-order the pages in a PDF, you can continue to drag and drop the thumbnails of each page in the sidebar of the Preview window. Then Save your new PDF.

What are acceptable forms of documents to upload to my application?

Uploading Files to Your Scholarship Application

Please follow these instructions carefully! If you attempt to upload a document in an incompatible file format, all your other work on that page of the application will be lost.

File Naming and Saving

Apply these general tips about file naming and saving to all of the processes outlined below.

Tips on File Saving & Naming:

  • Please name the document something that you can easily recognize, for example, “Formal Essay.docx” or “Goals Essay.pdf”
  • Save the file on your desktop so that you can easily find it to upload in the appropriate field on your application.

Saving Other Files as PDFs

If while writing your essays, you have used Google Docs or Pages- the default word processing program on a Mac, Text Editor, etc., you will need to save each document as a PDF.

Also, htm or html files cannot be uploaded to your application. These are internet files (your financial aid information or Student Aid Report) that must be saved as a PDF before uploading to your application.

How to Convert Your Pages File to PDF:

  • After completing and saving your document in Pages, click on the File menu and select Print.
  • Under the printer menu, on the lower left hand side click on PDF and select “Save as PDF.”
  • The default application for opening your PDF on your Mac will be Preview. You can view your PDF here before uploading the file to your application.

How to Convert from Google Drive to PDF:

  • After completing and saving your document in Google Drive, click on the File menu.
  • Hover over “Download As” and select “PDF Document (.pdf).”

How to save a file as a PDF document in general:

  • Most files you can “Save As” a PDF document to your computer, then upload to your application.
  • If this does not work, try printing the file as a PDF. From the print menu, you can change the selected printer to “save as PDF” or “print to PDF.”

If a student applied in a previous year and did not receive an award, can he/she apply again as a new student?

Yes, a student who is not awarded can apply again in following years. A new application must be submitted with new recommendations, an updated transcript, essays and all other supporting documentation. Most likely this student would now be a current college student so would be filling out the New Application for College Students, due May 1st.

Why is my cost of college on the award letter or website higher than the calculated cost of college on the Phillips website?

The cost of college listed on the Phillips Website comes only from the direct costs that will be billed to you. Colleges often provide a Cost of Attendance, which includes other expenses, such as your personal travel, living expenses on campus and the cost of books.  That is why the calculated number may be smaller than the college’s published Cost of Attendance, which includes both billed and non-billed, personal expenses.

If I am graduating from a two-year community college this spring and transferring to a four-year institution in the fall, am I eligible to apply for the Phillips Scholarship?

Yes, students who are finishing and/or transferring from a two-year program to an accredited four-year college or university are eligible to apply for the Phillips Scholarship. Please keep in mind that we will need your financial aid award for next year at the school to which you are transferring.

How long does it take for my recommenders to receive an email with the link to the form to fill out?

The email is sent to your recommenders as soon as you enter his/her information into your application and save that page. You should follow up to be sure that they all have received the email. Remind them to check their junk mail, too. Click here to track your recommenders’ progress and to send reminders.

If your recommenders still do not receive the email, please do the following:

  • If you have not yet submitted a complete application, you can check that you have entered the correct email address. If the email address is incorrect for any of your recommenders, please change the email address and send them a reminder to fill out the recommendation form. Again, check with them to be sure they received the email and link to your recommendation. If they continue  to have problems, they should call the office (978-744-2111) or email us at
  • If you have submitted your application and need to make changes to your recommenders’ information, please call the office (978-744-2111) or email us at for assistance.

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Helpful Resources

FAQs for the New Applicants
If you are a first time applicant, you will find answers to your specific questions here.

FAQs for the Current Scholars looking to Renew their Scholarship
If you have received the Stephen Phillips Scholarship in the past, you will find answers to your specific questions here. 
We are happy to answer email queries about the scholarship application process.