If you have a question that isn't answered here, please contact our application vendor, ISTS, directly. Their contact information is:

Phone: 855/670-ISTS (4787) 
Online Contact Form: 


Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: Applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship:

  • You must be a high school senior. Current college students are not eligible.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States on the date your application is submitted; permanent legal resident status does not qualify.
  • You must take either the ACT or SAT before November 5, 2016.

Note: You do not have to be a member (or the dependent of a member) of the Elks to qualify.

Q: What do you consider to be an independent student?
A: We will not accept an applicant as an independent student unless the student is or has been a ward of the Court or other extenuating circumstance. We require a copy of a court document or a Notarized letter from an appropriate Court Agency (Social Services) certifying such status.

Q: I'm home-schooled. Would I qualify?
A: Home-schooled students are eligible to apply for the scholarship. However, all aspects of the application must be filled out completely. When possible, a third party should complete the Counselor’s Report for the applicant.

Q: I'm taking a gap year and will not enroll in college until the following year. Would I qualify?
A: Depends. Applicants must be a high school senior or the equivalent. If you have officially graduated high school and are currently on a gap year, you are no longer eligible for the Most Valuable Student scholarship. If however, you have not yet graduated high school, but plan to take a gap year, you would be eligible, given you meet the other eligibility criteria.

Contest Procedures and Selection

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: November 30, 2016 at 11:59 PM Central Standard Time.

Q: What are the selection criteria?
A: An independent selection committee will evaluate the applications and select the recipients considering:

  • Leadership
  • Academic achievements and records
  • Community involvement
  • Financial need

Decisions of the selection committees are final and are not subject to appeal. No application feedback will be given.

Q: Is there a minimum income required in order to be considered for the MVS scholarship?
A: No. There is not a income minimum required in order to apply nor is there a maximum income we would not consider. The financial information presented on the application is considered in full, including any extenuating financial circumstances explained on the application. However, financial need is a component and counts towards the total number of points an application can receive. In addition, should you reach the State Finalist level of the competition, you will be required to upload your FAFSA Student Aid Report, which becomes available on October 1, 2016.

Q: What are the levels and details of the contest??

  • Applications must advance through local, district and state competitions to reach the national competition.
  • A student can apply for, but cannot accept, more than one Elks National Foundation scholarship or grant in any one academic year. Legacy Awards and Emergency Educational Grants are the other scholarships offered by the ENF. For details and eligibility, visit
  • In late January, State Finalists are required to upload transcripts, test scores and the FAFSA Student Aid Report.
  • The 500 National Finalists will be notified by email in late February 2017.
  • National Finalists are required to submit updated application information, along with an essay and teacher’s evaluation.
  • Following the National Finalists application deadline, the top 20 National Finalists will be selected to attend a mandatory Leadership Weekend with an interview component in Chicago from April 6 to 9, 2017.

Q: When is the Leadership Weekend?
A: The top 20 National Finalists will be selected to attend a mandatory Leadership Weekend with an interview component in Chicago from April 6 to 9, 2017. All expenses will be covered.

In order to be considered for a top award, the applicant must be able to attend the Leadership Weekend. The top 20 finalists will be vying for two first-place awards of $50,000; two second-place awards of $40,000; and two third-place awards of $30,000. The remaining 14 finalists will receive awards of $20,000.

Q: How and when will I receive notification?
A: Notifications are sent to recipients and applicants not selected to receive an Elks Most Valuable Student scholarship via email throughout the various levels of the contest.

  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from Lodge selection in early January 2017.
  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from district selection in mid-January 2017.
  • Applicants advancing to state selection will be required to upload transcripts, test scores and the FAFSA Student Aid Report by January 25, 2017.
  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from state selection to the National Finals in late February 2017.

Test Scores

Q: The college I plan to attend doesn’t require that I take the ACT or SAT. Are these scores needed for this application?
A: Yes, ACT and/or SAT scores are required. You need to take either the ACT or SAT before November 5, 2016, in order to qualify for the MVS Scholarship.

Q: The college I plan to attend will allow me to superscore my ACT scores. Can I do so on the application?
A: No. Please only list your composite ACT score on the application. Do not mix sub-scores from different test dates.

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Q:I was not born an American Citizen, but was naturalized when my parents' became citizens. What information do I list in the Citizenship section?
A: If you were naturalized under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, please include your parent(s)' naturalization information in the Citizenship section of the application. Include the date, place and their naturalization number.

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