Most Valuable Student FAQs

Legacy FAQs

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


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 current high school senior. High school graduates 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.

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.
Q: I'm planning to enroll in a two year training program. Can I use my scholarship towards this?
A: Scholarships are available only to students who enroll in four-year undergraduate degree programs at accredited U.S. American colleges or universities. It is acceptable for a student to enroll in a two-year college for the first two years of the four-year program.

Contest Procedures and Selection

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline for the 2025 contest is November 12, 2024 at 11:59 p.m., PST.
Q: How do I know if my application is complete?

A: Allow five to seven business days after uploading documents for your online status to update. You may monitor your status of your application on your home page.

  • Started: items are needed or are being processed. To see the items, click the grey or yellow ‘Started’ tile next to the application title. This will open another box listing all required items and the current status of each.
  • Complete: all required forms and attachments (if applicable) have been received and your application will be considered for the scholarship.You may also monitor the status of your attachments and recommendations (if applicable).
  • Not Received: the attachment has either not been received or has been rejected.
  • Not Started: the form has not been requested or started.
  • Requested: the form request has been created, but the form has not been started.
  • Processing: the attachment has been received and is being reviewed.
  • Rejected: the attachment was not accepted and has been rejected.
  • Accepted: the attachment has been verified and accepted by ISTS.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the progress of all application requirements to make sure the application is complete. The status "Complete" will display on the home page when all forms have been submitted and all documents have been verified.

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 minimum income 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 Quarter Finalist level of the competition, you will be required to upload your FAFSA Submission Summary.
Q: What are the levels and details of the contest?

A: They are as follows:

  • Applications must advance through local, district and state levels 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 January, Quarter Finalists are required to upload their transcript and FAFSA Submission Summary.
  • The 500 National Semi-Finalists will be notified by email in late March 2025.
  • National Semi-Finalists are required to submit updated application information, an additional essay, and a teacher’s evaluation.
  • Following the National Semi-Finalist application deadline, the top 20 national finalists will be selected to attend a mandatory Leadership Weekend. The 2025 MVS Leadership Weekend will be held in Chicago on May 1-4, 2025.
Q: When is the Leadership Weekend?

A: The top 20 National Finalists will be selected to attend a mandatory Leadership Weekend in Chicago from May 1 to 4, 2025. All expenses will be covered.

In order to be eligible for a top award, the applicant must be able to attend the Leadership Weekend. The top 20 finalists will each receive awards of $30,000.

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. It is important to use a personal email address when applying, as some high school email domains may restrict outside email.

  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from Lodge selection in late December 2024.
  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from district selection to Quarter Finalist judging in mid- January 2025.
  • Applicants advancing to Quarter Finalist judging will be required to upload transcripts and their FAFSA Submission Summary in order to be considered.
  • Notifications are sent to applicants advancing from state selection to the National Semi-Finals in March 2025. Applicants advancing to National judging will be required to submit updated application information, an additional essay, and a teacher’s evaluation.
Q: Am I required to take the ACT or SAT in order to apply for the MVS scholarship?
A: No, we have waived the standardized test requirement for the MVS contest. You do not need to submit ACT and/or SAT scores.


Q: I was not born an American Citizen, but was naturalized when my parents became citizens. Can I apply?

A: If you were naturalized under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, you may apply.