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Below are some of the questions we have received, along with our responses.  If you have a question that is not addressed here or on the announcement page, please let us know.

Who is eligible to receive a scholarship?
This scholarship is available to all citizens and permanent residents of the United States or its territories and possessions who plan to attend an accredited 2-year or 4-year college or university that is located within the United States or its territories and possessions during any combination of the Fall 2013, Winter 2013-2014 or Winter 2014, Spring 2014 or Summer 2014 term.  Applicants who are under 18 years of age at the time the entry is submitted must have permission from a parent or legal guardian.  Applicants who are under 13 years of age must have a parent or legal guardian submit the entry on the minor's behalf.

How do I submit an entry?
We accept entries via e-mail by clicking here {NOTE: link disabled; contest has expired}.  When submitting an entry, please include your full name and e-mail address in the e-mail.   We will not create an account through a third-party website for the purpose of viewing the essay.  Please note that EDASCAL cannot control third party websites that may host essays.  We require full access to all valid essays until the final judging has been completed.

How many entries may I submit?
There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit.  If an applicant submits more than one winning essay, only the highest prize will be awarded to the winner.

What topics will be considered for this scholarship?
The following is a partial list of pre-approved categories:   Crime prevention, Effects of crime policies, Recidivism, Crime myths, Crime statistics, Causes of crime, How mental health effects crime and/or vice versa, Stories about people overcoming criminal records, Motivation for improving life after committing a crime, Suicide prevention, Suggestions and resources for improving life after crime, Crime policy reform, International crime policy, Social rehabilitation for criminal offenders, Civil rights relating to crime, Legal education relating to crime, Positive contributions made by convicted or accused criminal offenders, and Failures and potential improvements in crime laws or policies

I want to submit an essay that does not fit into one of the listed categories.  Will it still qualify?
Maybe.  We recommend asking us for approval {NOTE: link disabled; contest has expired} before writing and submitting the essay.

How will the winners be notified?
The winning applicants will be notified by e-mail through the e-mail address provided upon submitting the entry.

I already submitted an essay.  If it is currently valid, can it ever be invalidated due to future amendments to the rules and guidelines?
No.  When an entry is received, it is immediately judged to determine whether it meets preliminary eligibility criteria.  Once this judgment is made, the decision is final and permanent regardless of future clarifications.  For the purpose of determining preliminary eligibility, we do not verify entrants' age, citizenship status or college enrollment status until after the final judging has been completed.

How can I see what amendments and clarifications have been made?
We note amendments and clarifications, as well as the dates these amendments and clarifications were made, using hidden comments in the source code of the main announcement page.  We usually use the keywords "Begin edit on" (without quotes) when adding these comments.

Will there be any significant adjustments to the eligibility criteria?
No.  Significant adjustments (i.e. category of qualified entrants, age restrictions, and disqualifying criteria) cannot be fairly applied to all entries after the initial announcement has been made.  If you believe we have made a significant adjustment after this scholarship opportunity was announced, or if you believe an unfair advantage or disadvantage has been granted, please let us know {NOTE: link disabled; contest has expired} as soon as possible so we can promptly correct the issue.

I have been convicted of criminal conduct.  Will this disqualify me from this scholarship opportunity?
No.  We do not consider entrants' past criminal conduct when determining the winners of this scholarship.

How long does the essay need to be?
There is no minimum or maximum length requirement for this essay.  We believe most essays will be around two pages, but length is not a significant factor in judging.

What are the criteria used in judging the winner?
Essays will be judged on grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure; quality of work; ability to keep readers' focus; quality of any auxiliary aids (pictures, graphs, etc.) and proper demonstration and proof of points made in the essay.  Length is not a significant factor.  Any third-party references used must be properly cited in APA format.

I want to express an opinion or other comment that may be interpreted as counterproductive, unpopular, or "wrong".  Will I be penalized for this view?
No.  Our judges will be forbidden from considering their personal thoughts and opinions of the subject matter when determining the quality of an entry.  The purpose of this scholarship is not only to enrich the quality of education for three aspiring college graduates , but also to provide a forum for discussing serious social issues.  We equally welcome thoughts, facts, opinions, feelings and all other comments regarding all sides of all aspects of these issues.

Are auxiliary aids required for the essay?
No.  Pictures, graphs, tables and other aids are suggested for clarifying the content of the essay, but they are not required.  Any auxiliary aids must be properly cited in APA format.

What writing styles will be accepted?
If the document is in an acceptable category, we will accept drama, anecdotes, poems, reference documents, story lines , essays, biographies, theories, comedy/humor, or any combination of these types of documents.  Entries must be any combination of non-fiction, theory, hypothesis or speculation.  We will accept fictional content if there is also related crime prevention content.  We will not accept entries that are both substantially fictional and lacking in crime prevention theory, education, or other crime prevention content.

When are the criteria and these questions updated?
We update these questions and scholarship criteria regularly and note changes according to the question above.  We may amend this page multiple times per day as needed.  We will not make significant changes to eligibility criteria.

How will my information be used?
In accordance with our Privacy Policy, we do not release entrants' information for marketing purposes.  We do not distribute our contact list to any third party unless we need to use the services of a third party who stipulates to comply with our Privacy Policy.  When the scholarship winners are announced, we will publish the winners' first names, last initials, states of residence and optional photos of the winners.  No other information will be made available to the public.  A photo is not required to be considered for the scholarship, nor do we require a photo to receive the scholarship upon being declared a winner.  Failure to supply a photo shall not disqualify or invalidate an essay, an entrant or the winners' scholarship winning.

What will winners win and how will prizes be awarded?
The first place entrant will win $2,500 (two thousand five hundred United States dollars).  The second place entrant will win $1,500 (one thousand five hundred United States dollars).  The third place entrant will win $1,000 (one thousand United States dollars).  All prizes will only be paid directly to the accredited 2- or 4-year college or university of your choice, regardless of whether the school is public or private, or is religious or non-religious.  Awards must only be applied to courses that earn credit hours in pursuit of an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate or other degree.

Where's the application form to submit?
We don't require a long, personal application that insists on collecting sensitive data from a large number of people, including juveniles.   We believe such a form would deter well qualified entrants.  Instead, we accept entries via e-mail by clicking here {NOTE: link disabled; contest has expired}.   When submitting an entry, please include your full name and e-mail address in the e-mail.  If this information is submitted according to the terms of the announcement and this FAQ page, the entry will be valid and shall permanently remain valid.  When judging concludes, we will ask winners to which college to apply the scholarship, then handle tax and security issues.

What is the procedure for final judging?
As we receive entries, we keep the full e-mails in which the entries are sent.  Starting a few days before judging begins, we will save the essays as separate files onto a disk.  We will then copy the essays onto disks for each of our three judges to review individually .  When each judge has finished reading each essay, the judge will assign a score on a scale of one to ten points for each judging criterion.  Grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure are worth a total of ten points; overall quality of work is worth ten points; ability to keep readers' focus is worth ten points and proper demonstration and proof of points made in the essay is worth ten points.  Length is not a factor.  Judges are also asked to deduct points from the overall total score for any improper or absent citations.  All judges' scores for all criteria are aggregated for each essay for a total final score (up to 120 points).  Essays with the highest score(s) will be discussed among the judges to determine the winners.