RULES & REGULATIONS
EMPIRE STATE EDUCATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP FUND (ESESF)
SCHOLARSHIP RULES AND REGULATIONS
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1. Review Local Rules. The same scholarship rules set forth at State do not necessarily apply to your Local Scholarships. Ask those Committees for a copy of their scholarship rules if you have not already received it.
2. Scholarship Usage. Scholarship funds may be applied to tuition, textbooks, supplies, academic fees and other appropriate educational expenses. All unusual or questionable items of expense must be referred to the Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc.’s Selection Committee with as much information as possible and far enough in advance for consideration of approval. Amounts received as scholarship payments are taxable income to the extent that they exceed “Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses”.
Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses include tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance of a student at an educational organization, including fees, books, supplies and equipment required of all students in the particular course of instruction.
Payment of all approved expenditures will be made directly to the college; university or other accredited institution unless extenuating circumstances exist. In such cases a letter of explanation accompanied by paid receipts and/or copies of canceled checks will be required which qualify the expense for reimbursement to the payer or scholarship contestant.
3. Requesting Usage. Requests for scholarships are processed upon receipt of statements from colleges and schools or for other educational expenses. All statements and invoices must be accompanied by a cover letter from the Contestant along with a letter from the Registrar’s office verifying her attendance. Requests for computer equipment will be granted only if the college states, in writing, that it is a mandatory requirement in order for the recipient to complete the course work. There will, however, be a $2000 limit on the cost of computer equipment. Requests for payment for other educational expenses (e.g. private instructors or course work not related to an accredited four-year college or university) must be pre-approved by the Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc., Committee.
4. Reimbursement Guidelines. Reimbursements for rent will be paid monthly or quarterly when the recipient is enrolled as a full-time student. Such requests must be documented by a fully executed lease agreement. Contestant must maintain a full time student status as defined by their institution. Rent reimbursements do not cover key fees or deposits. Utilities (electric, gas, cable, phone, etc.) are not covered unless they are included in the rental fee. Mortgage payments are not reimbursable or payable. Lease agreements must be submitted along with a current tuition bill showing full time status. For payment of private lessons or non-credit courses, a background profile on the teacher/instructor for acting or singing lessons etc., an original bill, canceled check or original credit card receipt must be submitted and will only be payable if such courses or lessons fall within the guidelines as described in Item 2.
The Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc. does not issue a 1099 form to the recipient. A letter of potential tax implications will be sent to the recipient if the total cash disbursements are over $600 in one calendar year. It is your obligation to determine whether the scholarship, in whole or part, is includable in your gross taxable income. Generally, amounts received as a qualified scholarship by an individual who is a candidate for a degree at an educational institution is tax exempt. A qualified scholarship is any amount that is used for qualified tuition and related expenses. Qualified tuition and related expenses include: tuition and fees required for enrollment and fees, books, supplies and equipment required for courses of instruction at the institution. To be treated as a related expense, the fees books, supplies and equipment must be required of all students in the particular course of instruction. Incidental expenses, such as those for room and board, travel, research and other expenses not required for either enrollment or attendance at the educational organization, are not considered related expenses and are includable in taxable income. Awards used to pay off student loans are taxable to the extent the proceeds of the student loan were used for incidental expenses. We recommend you consult with your tax advisor with any of your specific questions or concerns. Please note all reimbursements must be for current expenses only.
5. Priority of Level in Usage. Contestants receiving scholarships at the state level must use the scholarships won at the local level prior to applying for the funds in trust at the state level. Contestants must submit a letter and a copy of the canceled local scholarship check from the local pageant committee, which verifies the above. Any request for an exception must be submitted in writing to the Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc. Committee for consideration.
6. Student Loans. Scholarships may be used for outstanding student loan obligations provided the contestant has satisfactorily completed the coursework for which the loan was obtained. In all cases, requests must include a current bill from the lender showing a current address, a copy of the promissory note showing that the contestant is either the primary or secondary payer of the obligation, and an official transcript showing completion of the coursework.
7. Usage for Current Expenses. Scholarships may be used for current educational expenses. Contestants may submit invoices for payment directly from the provider of the educational services or may submit a receipted bill and request reimbursement. All invoices and receipted bills must be original. Contestants may not request payment or reimbursement for expenses, which are or have been covered through any other financial aid source other than student loans, which meet the provisions of the paragraph #6 above. “Current Expenses” are defined as those falling within the current fiscal year, beginning in January.
8. Usage for Future Expenses and Forfeitures. Scholarships may be used for future educational expenses. Contestants must begin use of their scholarships within one (1) year of the date of the award or two (2) years for the designated Miss New York. All requests must be postmarked no later than 5 p.m. one (1) year from the date of the previous competition. During the year of her service, Miss New York may request up to one-half of the scholarship money awarded to her at the state competition. If a Contestant has no activity in her scholarship account during this period, the funds in her account will be forfeited.
- A Contestant, who begins use of her scholarship within the time designated above, will then be required to show continuous activity in her scholarship endeavors up to a limit of two (2) years following the date of the award. If there occurs a continuous, uninterrupted one (1) year period in which there is no activity in an account, then the balance of that account will be forfeited. Similarly, any balance remaining in a Contestant’s account two (2) years following the date of the award will be forfeited.
- An exception to the time limits described above may be made if the Contestant, prior to the expiration date, makes a written appeal to the Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc., Committee citing compelling reasons why the time period should be extended An extension will generally be permitted when the Contestant has had continuous educational expenses but has not been able to draw her local awards down to zero within the prescribed time limits. However, the Contestant must still send a written request for the extension. The Empire State Educational Scholarship Fund, Inc., Committee will review the request and determine whether or not an extended time period is warranted. The decision of the Scholarship Committee will be final and binding.