There are four types of McDonalds scholarship, the first type is called RMHC Scholars Ronald McDonald House Charities programmes and is for all US resident students under the age of 21 years old who can show a 2.7 GPA Grade Point Average and demonstrable financial need, financial need is shown by scanning supporting documentation to your online application, the supporting documentation might be you and your parents 1040 US Individual Income Tax Return forms, or if you or your parents do not file income tax because they have food stamps or other benefits then a copy of this documentation should be attached to the application.
The McDonalds scholarship is a needs based scholarship, it is for students on low incomes but it is also based on their educational achievements to date, whilst you don't have to be rich to get the McDonalds scholarship and indeed if you or your parents are rich you cannot get this scholarship but you must be bright enough to show good school grades and have the ability to do well at an undergraduate course of study at any two or four year degree granting school, college or university in the United States, the university will need to hold charitable status and be accredited, most colleges and universities that you might consider studying at will usually have this status meaning your choice of school, college or universality is very wide.
While the McDonalds scholarship goes to great pains to say it is not discriminatory on the basis of colour, sex, disability or indeed any area of discrimination, the McDonalds scholarship does have individual scholarship programmes that are only available to minorities, these scholarship programmes include RMHC/HACER Ronald McDonald House Charities/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources, this is a scholarship for students who have at least one parent who has Hispanic heritage, the scholarship is exactly the same as the RMHC scholarship except it is for Hispanics only, when you make your application you must describe your Hispanic heritage and your reasons for wanting to undertake undergraduate study and your commitment to the Hispanic community.
Applying for the McDonalds Scholarship
If you are applying for the McDonalds Hispanic scholarship then you should have documentary evidence of your involvement with the Hispanic community, do you help run advice centres for the Hispanic community or do volunteer work at a Hispanic church or hospital centre, you will need to show strong ties to the Hispanic community and be able to show how your degree will benefit not only you but the Hispanic community, for example if you where studying to become a doctor, you might say that you want to return to your local community after you have qualified as a doctor to help your local community, or if you want to study management you might say that you want to start a Hispanic business that will help the Hispanic people in your area.
As well as the general RMHC McDonalds scholarship and the RMHC Hispanic scholarship McDonalds also offer a RMHC/African American Future Achievers scholarship where at least one parent must have African American or Black Caribbean heritage in order to apply for this scholarship, as with the McDonalds Hispanic scholarship you must also submit an essay on why you should be considered for the African American scholarship highlighting your heritage and how you have supported the African American or Black Caribbean community in your area, maybe you are an active member in the African American or Black Caribbean church or you volunteer in a shelter for African Americans or Black Caribbean's or some other charitable activity, not only must your essay show how you currently support your community but how you will continue to support your community after your graduate.
As an example if you where studying Engineering you might say that you want to work on engineering projects in Africa and would volunteer for such projects on your graduation or you might want to use other skills learned on your degree in your local community supporting African Americans or Black Caribbean's, note that this scholarship is only for Black Caribbean's if you are a White Caribbean then you will need to apply for the general RMHC scholarship which includes all races and creeds.
The final McDonalds scholarship available is the RMHC/Asia scholarship this scholarship is for students who have at least one parent from Asia or the Pacific Islands, as with all the other minority group scholarships offered by McDonalds you will need to include an essay with details of your Asian or Pacific Island heritage and how you currently support that community, maybe you help out at Asian or Pacific Island dedicated church or you help with other community activities like day centres for Asian or Pacific Island heritage people, you will also need to include in your essay how your degree or qualification will help your community, for example you might be studying to be a dentist and want to spend some time working in Asia or the Pacific Islands for a charity, bringing your dental skills to the local community.
All scholarships are assessed independently by ISTS International Scholarship and Tuition Services and its through their website that you make your online application, the ISTS administer several scholarships for other large companies and institutions and in fact their website is an invaluable resource for anyone looking for scholarships for US citizens, it's an interesting point to note that whilst McDonalds have scholarship schemes for Black Caribbean, Hispanic and Asian people, the scholarships are all US based and you must be a US citizen to obtain one of these scholarships, the scholarships do not directly help the people living in the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, Asia or Africa as students from those countries are ineligible for a McDonalds scholarship.
Whist the specific minorities that McDonalds hopes to support with its scholarships cannot access those scholarships if they are resident in those minority countries the student with the minority heritage will be able to bring those skills to their local community or to the heritage country directly by using the skills the student has learned on their degree once they have graduated.
RMHC Ronald McDonald House Charity Chapters
All McDonalds scholarships are awarded by the local RMHC Ronald McDonald House Charity chapters, these are local branch offices of the McDonalds charity spread across the United States, your application is made directly through ISTS, you select on the application your nearest McDonalds charity and if all the information you submit in the online application has been submitted correctly and you meet the requirements for the scholarship, your application details are forwarded to the local McDonalds chapter for assessment (to decide if you should be awarded the scholarship), you can make the whole application process online, scanning official transcripts and tax information documents or you can choose to send copies of these documents by mail, if you choose to mail them in then you can print a cover letter off from the online application which you should include in the envelope with your documentation.
ISTS advised that if you are not making a 100% online application, but are mailing in some documentation that you use a registered mail service to prove that the documents have arrived and have not been lost in the postal system, although this is not a requirement to send by a tracked method it is advisable, although I would encourage all applicants to use the online application service and scan their documentation, you can save your position in the online application so that you don't have to complete the application in one sitting.
McDonalds scholarships are awarded directly by the local McDonalds charity chapter, the amount awarded varies depending on the application from $1,000 to $100,000 dollars, most scholarships are discretionary with no set award amount, there are some national scholarships whose award amount is published and these include the RMHC/HACER Ronald McDonald House Charity/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources which is a scholarship for students who have at least one parent of Hispanic origin, for this scholarship four national scholarships are available and these are for $100,000 dollars for a four years scholarship where $25,000 dollars is paid each year, the scholarship cheque comes from ISTS and is paid directly to the educational establishment you have chosen for your degree, the award covers course fees, books, computers and other educational equipment but is not for use for living costs or accommodation as then tax would be liable on the scholarship.
Since the McDonalds scholarship started more than $60 million US dollars have been awarded to US students as a scholarship, whilst the majority of the award amounts are not made public it is certainly worth applying as a lot of scholarship money is available, interestingly unlike the Walmart scholarship which requires students or close family members to work for Walmart's students do not have to work for McDonalds to claim the scholarship, indeed other scholarship programmes like the Coca Cola scholarship actually ban workers and their families from applying for their scholarships.
Once you have made your application through the ISTS website your receive notification if you have been awarded a scholarship by McDonalds either directly from ISTS or from the local McDonalds charity chapter office, whilst the scholarship is based predominantly on the students need for financial assistance as if you don't need financial assistance you won't be able to get the scholarship, the scholarship is also based on merit like the Fulbright scholarship, this means that the better your school academic records the more chance you have of getting a McDonalds scholarship, this is borne out by the fact that the latest national winners of the African American scholarship went on to study at Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania.
You need to reapply for the scholarship each year, actually this process is a great deal easier than many other reapplication processes in that all you need do is provide verification of each year's enrolment, you are not required to maintain a GPA Grade Point Average like you are with the Walmart scholarship.
You Don't Need To Work At McDonalds
International students cannot apply for any McDonalds scholarships as you must be a US citizen to access the scholarships and the scholarships are for US universities and colleges only, even though some of the McDonalds scholarships are aimed at Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Africans, these awards are for those students already living in the US and not living in their heritage countries.
It is an interesting comment that McDonalds scholarship students are not required to work for McDonalds and that McDonalds employees are not banned form entering as with other company scholarships, the main RMHC Ronald McDonald House Charity scholarship is open to all ethnic backgrounds (McDonalds also has minority background scholarships for African Americans, Asian, Black Caribbean's and Pacific Islanders), whilst the actual scholarship award amounts are not published except for the national African American awards of $100,000 dollars for a four year degree programme the fact that in many cases it is the individual McDonalds charity chapters that make the decision about what scholarships to award, means that there is a good change of students who meet the entrance requirements of receiving an award as not all local chapters will have that many students applying.
It might be said that smaller McDonalds charity chapters will be able to offer a scholarships more easily as less students will be applying, so for this reason I recommend all eligible US students to apply, the scholarship is both financial based and merit based, whilst McDonalds say that it is predominantly financial based the fact that you are competing against other students makes it merit based too, so for some of these smaller charity chapters there is a good chance of a scholarship being awarded and the level of merit (top grades) required might be lower than some of the larger metropolitan areas.
Essay Writing for Scholarship Application
For all scholarships you will need to write an essay, for the minority scholarships this will mean detailing your heritage and how you currently support your heritage in the local community and how you will use your qualification to continue to support your local community and for the general RMHC scholarship you will still need to write an essay detailing how you support your local (non minority) community.