Starting a Scholarship? Let's Talk. Us Today About Starting a Scholarship - Scholarship America

Starting a Scholarship? Let’s Talk. Your guide to creating
an impactful scholarship.


Starting a scholarship is an outstanding way to make an impact on the world, change the lives of students and leave a legacy for yourself, your organization or your company.

But creating and managing a program on your own requires extra time, money and training. Marketing your scholarship to students, reviewing applications, answering customer service questions and disbursing funds can all add an excessive administrative burden on your internal team.

Scholarship America is the best-in-class expert in managing scholarships and tuition assistance programs for corporations and foundations of all sizes—and partnering with our nonprofit scholarship management services team will help give you back your time and save you money.

Here’s what you need to know as you consider starting a scholarship.

Define your “why”

  • What’s driving you to start a scholarship, and what impact do you hope to have?
  • What students do you want to serve? Will you focus on new high school grads, current college students or nontraditional (and often underserved) groups?
  • Are you providing assistance to your employees, their families or a community population?
  • Are you serving a specific population or field of study?
  • Will you be focusing on students’ financial need, or other criteria?

Knowing your goals and your target audience will help define the scholarship administration and funding process.

Scholarship funding and sustainability

  • How is your scholarship being funded?
  • Will your scholarship be given just once, or will it be renewed throughout a student’s college education?
  • Will you be funding tuition only, or other important living expenses?
  • Are you aware of the tax regulations around scholarship award distribution?
  • Have you considered administrative expenses and resources, including application processing, marketing, legal, printing and award distribution?

Like most things, scholarship awards come with hidden expenses, and the budget to give away a $2,500 scholarship isn’t just $2,500.

Administration and award selections

  • How will you be hosting, advertising and processing scholarship applications?
  • Who will be reviewing applications and selecting award recipients, and can you ensure that their judgment will be neutral?
  • Have you considered outsourcing administration to ensure resources remain sustainable?
  • Who will be handling customer service questions?

Lots of planning is needed up front to create a great scholarship program — and that’s before you even start creating applications, selecting a review committee and answering applicant questions.

Starting a scholarship with impact

  • How can you afford to best help your community?
  • Is your scholarship criteria inclusive enough to attract a significant number of applications?
  • How do you want to support your scholarship award winners throughout their education?

To start a scholarship fund with a real impact, we recommend a minimum award amount of $1,000; our clients’ average award is between $2,000 and $2,500. Awards of $5,000 or more are considered prestigious — the kind of award that makes a tangible impact, and consequently one a student will never forget.

There are many more questions to answer before you get your scholarship program off the ground — but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

Get in touch.

Fill out the form to the right to ask us about starting a scholarship, or about how Scholarship America can help with your existing program.

Prefer the phone? You can call Scholarship America toll-free at 1-800-537-4180.

Note: we do not reply individually to generic questions like “How can I get a scholarship?” or “Can you help me find a scholarship?” If you are a student or parent looking to find and apply for scholarships, you can explore scholarships and more here.


Minneapolis, Minnesota
7900 International Drive
Suite 500
Minneapolis, MN 55425
(800) 537-4180 | (952) 830-7300

Saint Peter, Minnesota
One Scholarship Way
Saint Peter, MN 56082
(800) 537-4180 | (507) 931-1682