FAQs for Applicants
The FAQs on this page offer insight into the grant application process and into what grants for nonprofits the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will consider. Additional FAQs address questions about the Dell Scholars Program. For additional information about the Dell Scholars Program, you may also visit www.dellscholars.org.
What type of projects does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation typically fund?
We seek to fund projects that directly serve or impact children living in urban poverty, particularly in the areas of education, childhood health and family economic stability (including microfinance.) To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.
What type of projects does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation not typically fund?
In general, the foundation does not support programs or organizations that fall outside of our key focus areas. While there are many groups in need around the world, we believe we’ll have the most impact if we focus on a few core areas. The Dell family foundation has defined its focus areas in a way that we believe allows us to help meet the most basic needs of children so they can achieve their full potential. To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.
Generally, the foundation does not provide grants to support:
- Medical research projects
- Event fundraisers or sponsorships
- Lobbying of any kind
My group needs computers. Will the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation donate computers or technology equipment?
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is not affiliated with Dell Inc., and does not supply computers or related technology equipment. To understand more about the type of grants we provide, please visit the programs page of this web site.
What amount should I ask for?
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has approved grants ranging from $500 to several million dollars. As a guideline, the foundation generally will not fund more than 25 percent of a project’s budget or more than 10 percent of an organization’s total annual operating expenses.
What is a problem statement?
A problem statement defines the unmet needs your organization is trying to address. It is a required part of the grant application. Your problem statement should identify who you are trying to help and why. It should include data or numeric evidence documenting the scope of the problem affecting your target population, and should describe the geographic area you work in.
Example (numbers cited below are for illustrative purposes only):
In the XYZ school district, 40 percent of fourth graders are reading one or more grade levels below proficiency as measured by the state standard reading test. The average percentage of students reading at grade level statewide is 82 percent, and the average for districts that are demographically similar to XYZ is 58 percent.
What do you mean by outcomes?
Outcomes are, by definition, the result of something. Rather than randomly awarding grants to all organizations good causes, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is committed to focusing on programs and organizations that can document a measurable impact on children's outcomes. Programs supported by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation must be able to show their progress—through measurable data relevant to their problem statement—toward helping children achieve their full potential.
What is baseline data or evidence?
To show the outcome or measurable progress of a program, you must be able to document your starting point. Baseline data and evidence are the data or numeric evidence documenting the problem in your geographic area and target population. The baseline data is point A. The desired outcome is point B.
A strong application will help us understand your plan to get from point A to point B based on the baseline data and the desired outcome, and help you're asking the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to provide.
Are Michael and Susan Dell personally involved in the decision-making process?
Michael and Susan are involved in the direction and vision of the foundation. However, the Dell family foundation employs an experienced and talented management team to provide recommendations and management of the grant making process. The team also provides executive direction, program management and oversight of other key areas.
How much money does the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation plan on contributing this year?
The exact amount of the foundation’s contributions each year depends on the quality and impact of programs available. As our foundation gains momentum, we plan to launch national and international initiatives that will help us realize our vision of removing barriers to success for children around the world. Please refer to the financials or the master grant list on this web site for further information.
How do I apply for a grant?
How will I know if my grant request has been received?
After you submit your grant request online, you will receive an email confirming that the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has received your request. After our staff has had time to review your request in detail, you will receive a specific response from the foundation via email.
Dell Scholars Program
What does the scholarship pay for?
Scholarship funds may be used for tuition, fees, books, and room and board. Upon the foundation's approval, you may also be able to use your funds for approved internships and study abroad programs.
Can I use the scholarship at any college and for any major?
One of the goals of the Dell Scholars Program is to improve the outcomes of underserved students through the opportunities a bachelor's degree can provide. As a result, the scholarship may be used at any accredited two-year or four-year nonprofit institution in the United States where credits can be earned towards a baccalaureate degree, including community and junior colleges. The scholarship may not be used at technical colleges, vocational programs or for-profit colleges. Scholarship recipients may pursue any baccalaureate degree program of their choice.
It is after January 15. Can I still apply?
The application process opens in November and closes the following January 15.
When will the semifinalists be announced and how do I find out if I am a semifinalist?
All applicants will be able to check their scholarship status on or after February 1. Semifinalists will be able to review the required next steps and deadline for the next stage of the application process on or after February 1.
Is there a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement?
All applicants must have a minimum of a 2.4 grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
I have a 2.4 GPA, do I have a chance to receive the scholarship?
Yes. The scholarship program is primarily a need-based scholarship rather than merit based. The GPA requirement reflects the foundation’s mission to reach underserved students who are academically prepared and college-ready, and to provide them with scholarship funds to achieve a college education.
How do I know if I have demonstrated need for financial assistance?
All applicants must have financial need. Financial need will be confirmed through eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant.
How do I know if I’m eligible for a Federal Pell Grant?
This eligibility is determined by the financial aid office at your school from the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) information you provide. It takes into account such factors as your expected family contribution (EFC), your enrollment status and the attendance cost for your designated school. If you are currently eligible for free or reduced lunch as part of the National Lunch Plan, you should apply for the Dell Scholarship.
Do I have to be a United States citizen or permanent resident to apply for a scholarship?
Yes. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
I am a home-schooled student, can I apply?
Only seniors who have participated in a Michael & Susan Dell Foundation-approved college readiness program are eligible to apply for the scholarship program.
I received a General Education Diploma (GED), can I apply?
Only seniors who have participated in an Michael & Susan Dell Foundation-approved college readiness program are eligible to apply for the scholarship program.
I attend an American-sponsored overseas school or Department of State school, can I apply?
Yes, if you have participated in a Michael & Susan Dell Foundation-approved college readiness program at your school. Please check with your principal or counselor to confirm.
Is there a fee to apply?
There are no fees to apply for any scholarships from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Are paper applications accepted?
All applications must be completed online. No paper applications will be accepted.
What is the FAFSA?
Free application for federal student aid. This application is required to receive any federal financial aid (such as Pell Grant, Perkins, Stafford, etc.). You may complete this application online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Where does funding for the Dell Scholarship come from?
The Dell Scholarship is funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a private family foundation providing educational opportunities to underserved youth. The foundation is not affiliated with Dell Inc.
Who are Michael and Susan Dell?
Please click here to learn more about Michael and Susan Dell.
Please click here to learn more about the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
Do you have any hints for my application?
Having reviewed a large number of applications, we offer the following words of advice to consider while completing your application:
- Don't use abbreviations or slang in your answers.
- Proofread your essays before you submit your application.
- Use the essays to tell important parts of your story that other questions don't address.
- Choose a recommender who can answer questions about you from both a personal and an academic perspective.