Frequently Asked Questions

Membership
Does membership cover a full calendar year or rather 365 days?

A NIAF membership covers 365 days from the day you sign-up.

If I just want the Ambassador magazines, to which membership should I sign-up?

The Ambassador magazines are available in physical copy to Sustaining members and above.

Does NIAF offer any discounts on membership or the Ambassador magazine?

NIAF offers a discounted Sustaining membership rate for students and teachers.

How can I renew my NIAF membership?

The simplest method is found by going to https://www.niaf.org/forms/join-us/.

You can also call 202-939-3109.

How much are memberships to NIAF?

Memberships range from $25 to $2,500

How many Ambassador magazines are included in the memberships?

For students, the magazine comes in four seasonal online editions.

For members above the student rate, the printed magazine will be available four times a year and access will also be possible online.

Is my information safe as a member?

Yes, NIAF keeps members’ information private and can assure its safety as we have data security.

Will my card be charged for renewal?

No, NIAF offices do not retain any credit/debit card data.

How can I pay for membership?

You can pay with all major credit card and debit cards, cash (via post), check, money order, and cashier’s check.

If I can’t log-in, what do I do?

Please email membership@niaf.org and a NIAF Membership Associate will get back to you.

My e-mail address is X, please update my membership and E-News subscription to reflect the change.

Please email membership@niaf.org and a NIAF Membership Associate will make the change for you.

I have changed my mailing address. Could you please update your system?

Please send to the NIAF membership coordinator  at membership@niaf.org.

Scholarships
What are my odds of getting a scholarship? How many people apply each year?

Our scholarship program is extremely competitive and all applications undergo a rigorous evaluation process. The odds of being awarded a scholarship depend heavily upon the number of applications received. The NIAF receives between 1,500 – 3,000 scholarship applications each year and depending on available funds, awards between 50 and 100 scholarships.

I don’t know/can’t find my NIAF Membership ID. What should I do?

Your NIAF Membership ID is the number that was administered to you when you signed up for NIAF Membership. Please check your email and your spam folder for the confirming email.  You will be asked for the member’s name exactly how it appears on your membership, the zip code on the membership and your NIAF member ID. If you cannot find this information, please call NIAF at 202-387-0600 or email

membership@niaf.org.

I cannot log in to the Community Force website to access the application, what do I do?

All new applicants must create a Community Force account to start your application by pressing the grey,

“Create New Account” button on NIAF’s  Community Force page. If you applied to a NIAF Scholarship for the

2019-2020 academic year, you may use the same login as you used last year.  Please note that the application login is different from your NIAF membership login. You cannot access the scholarship application from the NIAF membership portal.

If you are still having trouble accessing the application after creating your Community Force log-in credentials, please click the “Forgot Password?” link on the login page. It will send you an e-mail from admin@communityforce.com with a link to reset your password. If you do not receive it within 30 minutes, please check your spam folder.

Will I be notified if I do not receive a NIAF scholarship? How will I be notified of the results?

All applicants will be notified via email if they have received or not received a scholarship on Monday May

4, 2020 by 5:00 pm (EST). We do not post an exhaustive list of scholarship recipients on our website. The email will be sent to the email address that you register your application with on Community Force. To ensure that you receive your notification, please make sure that you register your application with your most frequently used e-mail address. If you do not receive an e-mail, please check your spam folder. E-mails generated from the NIAF Scholarship application come from  admin@communityforce.com and may be directed to your spam.

I don't have an email address and/or Internet access, can you mail me a hard-copy application?

No, NIAF scholarship applications are only available online. We no longer offer paper applications and will not accept paper copies of application documents. Additionally, an email address is required when completing a scholarship application.

I would like to attend a summer program, can scholarship monies be used toward this program?

No, NIAF scholarship awards can only be used for tuition and university provided room and board during the academic year (Fall 2020 and Spring 2021).

Can I use this scholarship for books or housing?

The scholarship funds awarded by the NIAF are only eligible to be used for tuition payment or on housing accommodations billed through your student account. You cannot use the funds for books or supplies.

Can my high school guidance counselor write me a letter of recommendation?

Yes.

What type of students can apply for a NIAF Scholarship?

Any high school senior, undergraduate, graduate student or doctoral student may apply for a NIAF Scholarship. This includes students attending medical or law school. For any questions on the application that do not apply to you, please leave them blank unless stated as a required field. If you receive a NIAF Scholarship, you will be asked to show proof of full-time enrollment for Fall 2020 in a US-based, accredited higher education institution in before the scholarship monies can be paid.

What qualifies an applicant as "Italian American"?

To be considered “Italian American” for the NIAF scholarship program, the student must have at least one ancestor who has emigrated from Italy (any region). We do not require verification of your Italian heritage.

Do I have to be a member of the NIAF to apply for a scholarship?

Yes; you must be a member of NIAF or have a parent, guardian or grandparent who is a dues paying member of NIAF. Do you need to sign up for membership or renew your membership? You may sign up for any level of membership or renew your membership at  www.niaf.org/join

I am a high school student; can I apply for a scholarship?

NIAF does not offer scholarships for private high school education. Only students entering or planning to enter a U.S. based accredited college or university on a full-time basis in the Fall 2020 are eligible (usually high school seniors or above). Applicants must be enrolled in or have been accepted to a U.S.-based accredited college or university for Fall 2020.

Must I be in a certain age range to be eligible for a scholarship?

There is no minimum or maximum age limit to be considered eligible for a NIAF scholarship. Birth date is not a consideration in evaluating applications, but students must be at least high school seniors to apply. Students that attend a university later than the traditional age are also eligible to apply.

I won a NIAF scholarship last year (or a previous year), can I apply again this year?

Yes; previous scholarship winners can and are encouraged to reapply. Previously awarded scholarship winners are not guaranteed an automatic scholarship renewal. Please note, however, that some scholarships require that eligible applicants must not have previously received the scholarship.

I’m a student going back to school after an absence. Am I eligible for a scholarship from the NIAF?

Yes. The NIAF welcomes students of all types to apply for its scholarship funds. If you are attending school after a significant absence, please provide your most recent transcript (e.g. high school, undergraduate) even if a significant amount of time has passed. If you are unable to procure a transcript, please contact the NIAF at scholarships@niaf.org.  You can also ask a coworker or supervisor to submit a recommendation in lieu of a teacher or professor.

I’m a student studying abroad in Italy during the next school year. Am I eligible for a NIAF scholarship?

It depends. If you are studying during the academic year (i.e. not the summer) and with a U.S.-based, accredited institution (e.g. NYU, University of California – Berkeley), then you would be considered eligible for a scholarship from the NIAF. If, however, you are studying during the summer or through a non-U.S.-

based, accredited institution (e.g. University of Bologna, University for Foreigners at Perugia), you will not be

considered eligible for a scholarship from the NIAF.

As an example, if you attend Fordham University (a U.S.-based, accredited institution) and will be studying abroad in Rome during the fall semester and you will still be enrolled as a student at Fordham (but just studying abroad), then you would be considered eligible for a scholarship. If, however, you are taking an academic leave of absence from Fordham and enrolling at the University of Bologna, you would not be eligible.

I am not an American citizen; can I still apply for a scholarship?

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be a citizen of the United States of America or a permanent resident alien. If you are a dual citizen of another country and the US, you are considered eligible.

My overall GPA is 3.1, but my Major GPA is 3.5. Am I eligible to apply?

Only one of your GPAs must be at least 3.5 to be considered eligible to apply. If you are applying based on your Major GPA, make sure that you include it on your application.

The website says that the deadline is March 1, 2020. Does that mean midnight on March 1 or 5:00 p.m.?

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

How do I submit my transcript?

To submit your transcript, please upload it in PDF form in the section dedicated to uploading documents.

What if my teacher only wants to submit a hard copy of my teacher recommendation?

If your teacher only wants to submit a paper copy of your recommendation, you can invite your teacher to copy and paste the recommendation directly on the application website. The directions for submitting a recommendation on the application can be found in the e-mail that your teacher receives when you submit your request for a recommendation on Community Force. If they have trouble finding the e-mail, we recommend that they check their junk folder. All letters of recommendation will be kept private and will not be shared with the applicant.

My teacher never submitted a recommendation. What should I do?

It is your responsibility to ensure that your teacher has submitted your recommendation by the March 1,

2020, deadline at 11:59 pm EST. The NIAF recommends that you provide your teacher with as much time as possible to complete the recommendation. As the deadline approaches, please contact your teacher to remind them of the upcoming deadline. The NIAF does not make exceptions for teacher recommendations submitted after the deadline. If your teacher recommendation is not submitted by the deadline, your application will not be considered complete and you will not be eligible for a NIAF scholarship. Remember, they must upload the recommendation via the drop box Community Force website.

I am a non-traditional student who has been out of school for many years. I have no ties to any of my previous teachers/professors. Can I have a professional complete a letter of recommendation?

We would like you to use a teacher as your evaluator if possible. However, if you feel that your recommendation would be better served by another person because you have been out of school for some time or for another reason, you may have a professional (e.g. a coworker or superior) fill out your form.

I am attending a new school and I don’t know any of my professors well enough to ask for a recommendation. Can I have a previous teacher or coach fill it out?

Having a current professor or coach fill out the recommendation would be preferable, as that person would have the best knowledge of your current performance as a student. However, if you feel that a current professor would not be able to provide you a recommendation that accurately reflects your qualifications for this scholarship, we will accept a former teacher or coach’s recommendation.

I’ve missed the application deadline for this year. Are there any other scholarships available from the NIAF? When can I apply for the next NIAF scholarship?

If the deadline has passed, you will not be eligible for a NIAF scholarship this year. NIAF’s next scholarship application will open on December 1, 2020 and close on March 1, 2021. If you have missed the deadline and are looking for other scholarships, the NIAF recommends  www.fastweb.com and http://www.zinch.com/scholarships/ to help students in the scholarship search process.

What does claiming financial need on my application entail? Will claiming financial need exclude me from being considered for scholarships based on academic merit?

A small percentage of the total number of scholarships the NIAF grants each year take the financial need of an applicant into account along with academic merit as criteria for selection.

If you are claiming financial need on your NIAF Scholarship Application, the NIAF requires that you upload a pdf copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR) or FAFSA form.

Information on completing a FAFSA form through the federal government can be found on their website www.fafsa.ed.gov

If you claim financial need, you will still be considered for all scholarships you are eligible, whether they take

financial need into consideration or not. For those scholarships based on academic merit, your financial need will have no bearing on your evaluation.


The NIAF is not responsible for technical issues with your SAR report. To troubleshoot your FAFSA or SAR report, please contact FAFSA through their website  www.fafsa.ed.gov.

I wish to claim financial need, but don't have a FAFSA Financial Aid Form. What is the FAFSA Financial Aid Form and how do I go about getting one?

The FAFSA Financial Aid Form is the Free Federal Application for Student Aid sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The NIAF uses this information to make its determinations about the applicants’ financial need relative to other students who are applying. If you do not have a FAFSA Financial Aid Form registered with the Dept. of Education, visit their website:  www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information on how to submit a FAFSA.

My family hasn’t done its tax return for this year, so we can’t prepare our FAFSA. What should I do?

You can prepare a FAFSA, which will generate your SAR, based on your previous year’s tax return. If your financial situation has changed dramatically, please note that in your application.

If you still have questions about the on-line application, please contact  scholarships@niaf.org or for an immediate response, call Julia Streisfeld, NIAF Director of Scholarships, Grants and Youth Engagement at (202) 939-3114.

Voyage of Discovery
Can I defer my acceptance to the Voyage of discovery?

Unfortunately, no. You will have to re-apply next year.

I went to Italy as a young child and I don’t remember going. Am I still eligible to apply?

We would encourage you to apply and the reviewing committee will take this into consideration.

I am taking a gap year in college. Am I eligible to apply for the Voyage of Discovery?

No. You must be a current college student in the Spring semester proceeding the trip.

I am a senior in high school and will be 18 by the time the next Voyage of Discovery occurs. Am I eligible to apply?

No.  You must be a college student in the Spring semester proceeding the trip.

If I get accepted to the Voyage of Discovery, can I meet the group in Italy?

No, you must depart with together with the group from the US departure city (usually New York or Washington, D.C.)

My school only sends official transcripts by snail mail. But I can obtain an unofficial transcript by pdf, would that be acceptable?

Yes, of course.

I filled out the online application. Is there anything else I need to do?

Yes! You will need to submit two letters of recommendation, your college transcript (official or unofficial) and your resume.

Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum
I have an idea of a film showcasing an Italian American. Can NIAF help fund it?

We encourage you to apply to the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum. Each year NIAF and ISDA awards eight $8,000 grants to aspiring filmmakers.

I’m applying for the Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum, how long does the film have to be?

The film can be as long as you want it to be. There’s no limit. You can decide to make a short, a feature-length film, a documentary, etc.

I have more than one idea for a film. Can I apply more than once?

Absolutely. You can apply as many times as you wish.

Can I seek other funding for my film? Or do I have to use only the funds from the Film Forum?

Of course. You may use your own funds or seek additional funding.

I’m not a film student. Can I still apply?

Absolutely. An aspiring filmmaker at any level of expertise can apply.

I have a script that I’d love the Russo Brothers to read. Can you pass it along to them?

Unfortunately, due to their busy schedule, they can’t read it. However, if you apply for the Russo Brothers Film Forum, they will consider it.

NIAF on Campus
My school does not have an Italian club on their campus. Can I still apply for NIAF on Campus?

Unfortunately, no. At this time, the NIAF on Campus Program is only for schools that have an already established Italian club on their college campus. We hope to expand the program to include funding to help students establish Italian clubs at their schools.

I am not Italian American but am part of the Italian club at my school. Can I still apply?

To be eligible for the NIAF on Campus program, applicants must be Italian American.

I can’t come to the gala weekend but am still interested in partaking in the NIAF on Campus program. Will I still be able to participate?

If you are applying to the NIAF on Campus program for the first time as a member of a club that has never participated in the program and you are not able to attend the NIAF gala, you must be accepted into the program to receive the benefits of being a NIAF on Campus club. If your club participated in NIAF on Campus last year and you are interested in continuing your club’s involvement, you are more than welcome to participate if your club agrees that you will be the NIAF on Campus representative for the year. If you are chosen as the NIAF on Campus representative for the year, you will be eligible to take part on NIAF on Campus conference calls and be eligible to apply for up to $500 each for two events to take place on your campus.

My college used to take part in NIAF on Campus, but the representative is no longer at my university. Are we still eligible for event funding?

Yes! In the interest of maintaining relationships with NIAF on Campus clubs, NIAF has established an alumni program. The alumni program is open for clubs who took part in the NIAF on Campus program in the previous academic year and want to continue their involvement with the NIAF on Campus Program. If the sitting representative is no longer able to continue their duties at the end of the year, the club has the following options to continue their relationship with the NIAF on Campus Program. Either the most recent NIAF on Campus representative or the club’s advisor must choose a new representative to stay involved, or the club can elect a new representative for the next academic year (depending on the club’s policies on electing/appointing leadership). The new representative does not need to reapply to the NIAF on Campus program to maintain funding eligibility for events; they simply need to take part in 75% of the conference calls.

Can high school Italian clubs apply for NIAF on Campus?

Currently, the NIAF on Campus Program is only for Italian club on college campuses. We hope to expand the program to include Italian clubs at high schools across the country. However, we are more than happy to send NIAF pamphlets and information about our programs to high school Italian clubs and Italian teachers if they are interested in learning more about the Foundation.

I am looking for support to start an Italian club at my high school or college. Does NIAF provide funding to help establish clubs?

Unfortunately, no. At this time, the NIAF on Campus Program is only for schools that have an already established Italian club on their college campus. We hope to expand the program to include funding to help students establish Italian clubs at their schools.

Grants and Sponsorships
Grants and Sponsorships

Thank you for your interest in the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Grant and Sponsorship Program!

Please note that our process for applying for funding from NIAF has recently changed and we now review all funding requests on a quarterly basis. To apply for NIAF funding, we ask that you please complete the following application form and return a typed copy to grants@niaf.org by 11:59 pm ET on the dates listed on the Grants and Sponsorship page. Decisions will be communicated to the applicant approximately 2-3 weeks after the deadline. To be eligible for funding, the applicant must be an active member of NIAF.

Ancestry and Genealogy
Could you please refer me to a company that can help me learn more about my ancestry?

NIAF works with two US-based companies:

Defamation
Defamation

NIAF defers defamation cases to the Italian American One Voice Coalition as the Coalition represents Italian American organizations around the country with the goal to “act as one united voice when dealing with defamation, discrimination and negative stereotyping of our culture and heritage.” Please see the Italian American One Voice Coalition’s contact information below:

E-mail: info@iaovc.org
Phone: 844-862-8623

Mail:
Andre’ DiMino
Communications Director
Italian American One Voice Colaition
PO Box 2333
Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003

I have witnessed the use of derogatory language/ethnic slurs regarding Italians. Can NIAF write a letter or contact the entity to condemn the use of this type of language?

NIAF concentrates on providing educational support to young professional Italian Americans. We advise people who bring us anti-defamation issues to contact the Italian American One Voice Coalition, Unico and OSIA who are groups that concentrate solely on these issues.

A Columbus statue in my area has been vandalized/will be taken down. Can NIAF please provide a statement?

Please read NIAF’s statement on Christopher Columbus here.

Dual Citizenship
Can NIAF tell me more about the dual citizenship process and what is required?

According to Italian Law 91 of February 5, 1992, Italian citizenship is conferred by bloodline. In other words, the descendant of an Italian citizen is already an Italian citizen. The descendant need only have his/her Italian citizenship recognized by the Italian government. An individual seeking to have his/her Italian citizenship recognized need only to produce evidence that everyone in his/her direct line of ascendants uninterruptedly maintained their Italian citizenship. To learn more about the citizenship process and requirements, please visit: www.youritalianpassport.com/qualifications.html

Do you know of any companies that can help me through the dual citizenship process?

NIAF works closely with a company called Your Italian Passport, a NIAF corporate sponsor. NIAF members receive a discount on Signature Package. Please email info@youritalianpassport.com for information.

Volunteer Opportunities
Does NIAF have internships available?

NIAF does not offer internships at its Headquarters. Please consult our programs to see the other opportunities we offer to youth.

Can NIAF connect me to internship/career opportunities with Italian companies?

NIAF is not able to forward resume’s to Italian companies. NIAF encourages professionals to join NIAF events to network and build relationships with other likeminded individuals throughout the year.

Other FAQs
I would like to recognize an Italian American in my community.

Would you all like to honor him at the next NIAF gala? NIAF welcomes names and background information for nominations. NIAF will send the information to the Gala nomination committee for further review.  Please email your suggestions to gala@niaf.org.

I would like to collaborate with NIAF through my (genealogy/tourism) business that I run. What options do I have to collaborate with the Foundation?

NIAF welcomes organizations to collaborate by becoming a NIAF partner or corporate sponsor. Please consult our Become a Sponsor page.  If you have further questions, contact information@niaf.org.

I am an Italian American and I am looking for a doctor/lawyer in my area that is also Italian American. Can you refer me to somebody close to me?

NIAF is unable to share personal contact information to the public.

We are in receipt for a matching gift to your Foundation. Can you please provide verification or donation to your organization?

Please send all matching gift inquires to information@niaf.org

I am currently a member of an Italian American group in my city. Can we coordinate our efforts of promoting the Italian values with NIAF? How can we partner with NIAF?

Please send all collaboration and partner requests to information@niaf.org