What is The Hormel Inspired Pathways Program? 

Inspired Pathways was created by Hormel Foods in an effort to make the dream of a college education a reality for the children of its team members throughout the United States. The program provides a two-year community college degree opportunity for the benefits-eligible dependent children of its employees. Learn about the process, review eligibility details, or begin your application.

Who qualifies for The Inspired Pathways?

In short, if a benefits-eligible employee has worked for Hormel Foods for one year or more at the time their dependent child will enroll in college, their child will qualify. The program is for high school seniors who will graduate in the Spring of 2021 or after. The child must meet dependent eligibility requirements based on Hormel Foods and the IRS guidelines. View Eligibility Details.

When does the program begin?

The application process is open and guidance resources are available as of November 1, 2020. The first scholarships will be for classes that begin in the Fall of 2021.

I have a unique circumstance and don’t quite fit the criteria. Is it possible to apply for an exception to the eligibility?

We’ve worked very hard to keep the eligibility criteria broad and simple. That said, we know we may not have covered every potential scenario. If you’d like the advisory committee to review your particular circumstance, please contact us by filling out this form.

What is a qualifying college?

A qualifying college is any accredited public community college at which the student qualifies for in-state tuition and awards associate degrees.

How do I know if I qualify for in-state tuition?

Go to Student Resources and click “Residency Rules by State” for a list of the most commonly requested state rules. Rules for other states can be find on that state’s website.

What is the scholarship amount? 

The scholarship amount will vary for each student. The grant program pays for up to 100% of the student’s tuition that is not covered by financial aid or other scholarships. 

Does Inspired Pathways cover room and board or other fees?

The Inspired Pathways program is for tuition only, however each accepted student/parent employee will receive a one time $200 stipend. 

I want to attend a 4-year college, can Inspired Pathways help me?

Yes! This program is designed to help with community college tuition. However, our instructional program is designed and led by former college admissions officers to help all students. We will provide support on financial aid at 2-year and 4-year college, applying to colleges, and essay writing. Additionally, the company has provided millions of dollars in scholarships for several decades through the Hormel Foods National Merit Scholarship, which is a highly-competitive scholarship program for employee’s children that provides a scholarship to 4-year colleges and universities. For more information on that program, please visit this National Merit Scholarship page.

How long will the application take? 

We have designed the application to be simple and quick. It is estimated to take about 15 minutes to complete the form. Our application is most likely the easiest part of the process. The application will require submission of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) report called the SAR (Student Aid Report) and a copy of the most recent school transcript or 11th grade report card. Inspired Pathways webinar series will teach students how to apply for FAFSA and other financial aid resources. Your guidance counselor will have copies of your transcript.

Where can I find information on important financial aid systems like FAFSA?

The Student Resources page is a good place to start for that information.

Is there a cap on how many students can qualify for the Inspired Pathways? 

No! We want to make the dream of a college education available to as many of our team members’ children as possible.

How will this award work with other college financial aid? 

We know that many students get some financial aid, but oftentimes that financial aid only covers part of the tuition. Once the student receives their financial aid package, Hormel Foods will cover the remainder, including up to 100% of the tuition. The Inspired Pathways Scholarship is structured as last dollar funding to help students and their families pay for college (this type of scholarship is also referred to as “gap” funding). The scholarship amount will be customized for each student. It will pay the remaining tuition balance after state and federal grants and other scholarships have been applied.

What are the eligible universities and/or colleges?

Any public community college that awards associate’s degrees.

Are there additional requirements that must be met after the initial award? What happens if the student fails to meet the requirements? 

Students must send their official and finalized tuition bill and high school diploma to receive a scholarship. The student must meet all admissions requirements at the community college that they are applying. They also must continue to remain in good standing with the college during the grant period. If you’ve missed requirements, please contact us by filling out this form.

How many years is the scholarship available?

Students have 2 years to use up to 4 semesters of community college tuition. Ideally, students will enter in the fall and complete two consecutive years. We do understand that issues may arise that are out of the student’s control. Students with an ,exceptional circumstance may file an appeal for additional time to complete the 4 semesters

If the scholarship award is not needed due to other scholarships, can the award be applied to room and board fees?

This grant is only for tuition. 

When will the scholarship funds be available? 

Funds are disbursed to your selected community college in the name of the recipient beginning with the fall semester.

Are summer semester classes covered by The Hormel Inspired Pathways Scholarship? 

Students will not be eligible to have summer classes covered by the scholarship. However, see the resources page, as other Promise programs in your area may cover summer programs!

I currently work at Hormel Foods. Am I eligible for this program?

If you are a high school senior, you are eligible for this program. Additionally, Hormel Foods team members have access to the company’s Tuition Reimbursement program. The company’s HR representatives will have more information on that program for current team members. 

I go to school in Austin, Minnesota. There is the Austin Assurance college scholarship program. Which program should I apply to? Can I apply to both?

If an employee has a student attending the Austin High School or Pacelli High School, they must first apply to the Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship at www.austinassurance.org This program is a great program and one that we modeled our program after. If a student does not qualify for the Hormel foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship, they are able to apply to the Inspired Pathways scholarship, but only after they have been declined for the Austin Assurance program. 

Is this program available for international employees?

Unfortunately, no. Because of the complexity of this program, we are only able to offer this program to those team members in the United States.

I graduated last year and I am currently in my first year of community college. Can I apply for the program?

If a student meets all of the eligibility requirements, Hormel Foods has decided to make a one-time exception to cover those who are currently enrolled full-time in an accredited community college and working toward an associate’s degree. The student will need to complete all of the same steps that a senior student would.

If the employee leaves the company after the grant is awarded, what happens to the grant?

The grant requires that the parent employee stay employed during the duration of the program. If the employee leaves the company, the grant is no longer available. 

Are technical schools covered by this program?

Some public community colleges have technical degree programs that are eligible for the program. Only accredited non-profit community colleges are eligible. For-profit technical or other colleges are not eligible.

Are out-of-state community colleges included in the program?

The program only covers qualifying in-state tuition. 

If you don’t see your question here, please contact us by filling out this form.