2017 Scholarship Application

The application form is located at the bottom of this page. Please carefully read the description of the scholarship’s purpose, eligibility requirements, and application process before downloading the application. Any questions should be addressed to Lenore Balliro, Director of Programs, at lballiro@firstliteracy.org or 617-482-3336 x13.


First Literacy Scholarships recognize and reward adult learners who have completed their ABE studies — including ESOL, High School Equivalency, and Bridge to College — and who are continuing on to higher education or skills training. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of candidates’

  • Educational achievement and potential,
  • Perseverance in face of hardship, and
  • Serving as role models for their families, peers, or communities.

2017 Scholarship Awards

  • First Literacy scholarships are for $1,000.
  • First Literacy will award new scholarships to up to 15 deserving and promising individuals, as well as a limited number of Continuing Scholarships to 2016 recipients, who will be sent applications directly.


  • First Literacy scholarships are for adults who have completed or will have completed their basic education studies between April 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017 at a community-based ABE program, a free preparatory program offered by a local higher education institution, or a volunteer-based program serving basic education needs of adults in Massachusetts.
  • Applicants need to have been admitted to an institution of higher education or a vocational training program of substantial duration, a copy of letter of acceptance required.
  • A maximum of three applications per program under the same 501(c)3 will be accepted.
  • Programs may assist students throughout the application process, but applicants must write their own personal statements.
  • Scholarship recipients must report on their progress to First Literacy in January and July, 2018.
  • Students who are awarded a scholarship, but are unable to pursue their studies as planned must inform First Literacy within one month of the cessation of studies and may be required to return their scholarship.
  • 2016 First Literacy scholars may apply for a Continuing Scholarship. Applications will be sent directly to these individuals, who are expected to apply independently.

Application Process

  • Students interested in applying for a scholarship should consult with their teachers or advisors.
  • Programs are encouraged to help identify candidates — a maximum of three per 501(c)3 program.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required of each applicant, at least one from a program staff member.
  • Applications, letters of recommendation, and copies of letters of acceptance must be submitted online in one email to lballiro@firstliteracy.org.
  • Application forms and letters of acceptance are due June 1, 2017; copies of letters of acceptance maybe submitted separately if not yet available, but no later than June 15, 2017.
  • Finalists for scholarships required to participate in a 20-minute interview, to be held June 13 – 24.
  • Applicants will be notified by July 7, 2017.
  • Scholarships will be awarded at a ceremony in July or August, 2017. Recipients are expected to attend.

Download Applications

Click here to download the First Literacy Scholarship Description 2017 (PDF)
Click here to download the First Literacy Scholarship Application 2017 (Editable PDF)