1. Welcome to Dollars for Scholars
Scholarship America’s Dollars for Scholars program is made up of a network of locally based scholarship providers -- Dollars for Scholars affiliates -- that help hometown students access and complete their education beyond high school. For more than 50 years, Scholarship America, the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships, has helped community groups and organizations nationwide establish and operate Dollars for Scholars scholarship programs.
Since Dr. Irving Fradkin raised the first dollar for student scholarships in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1958, and coined his effort “Dollars for Scholars," this unique grassroots program has provided more than $564 million to 713,000 students across the country. More than just the impact of financial aid, Dollars for Scholars has united communities in a common effort, mobilized citizens to support higher education and provided inspiration and encouragement to students from all walks of life. You can check out our Chapter Search to see where our current affiliates are located across the nation.
Scholarship America provides a ready-made model for your community or organization to join this nationally-recognized movement and make a lasting impact on students in your area. Are you ready to join the movement? Click on "Overview" above to learn more.
2. An Overview of the Program
For the first time in decades, American students are achieving college degrees at lower rates than other industrialized countries. Currently, only about half of students who start a postsecondary degree program complete their education. With tuition and fees rising at rates well above the rate of inflation, students are also saddled with increasing amounts of student loan debt. The average student loan debt is more than $26,000 and the rate of defaulting on those loans is going up.
Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars, the largest, grassroots national scholarship program, can change these statistics by harnessing the power of its community -- hundreds of local organizations, and thousands of volunteers and donors supporting local students with financial aid and other supports.
Private scholarships from Dollars for Scholars affiliates can help promising students with financial need complete their education by filling the gaps in funding from other sources, reducing the level of debt and hours needed to work while attending school, allowing students to attend the post-secondary institution of their choice, and providing the incentive and encouragement to achieve their academic goals.
The Role of Scholarship America
Scholarship America is committed to supporting the development and sustainability of its Dollars for Scholars affiliates through personalized, expert support; accessible training and resources; web-based program and scholarship management tools; a local and nationally-branded website template and hosting; networking opportunities; funding opportunities; and visibility and public awareness through a respected national brand identity. Dollars for Scholars affiliates are supported through a wide array of specific affiliation benefits, which continues to grow based on the needs of students and our affiliates.
Click "More Details" below to learn specifics about what Scholarship America provides. Click "Impact" above to continue reading.
3. The Impact of Dollars for Scholars
Successful Dollars for Scholars affiliates have two essential things in common:
1. They raise money annually to award impactful, performance-based renewable scholarships to students with financial need who have also demonstrated motivation and perseverance. Research shows that performance-based, renewable scholarships (i.e., awards given to students each year of their education, as long as they fulfill requirements) can boost graduation rates by 5 to 10 percent.
2. They maintain an ongoing connection with scholarship recipients and track student outcomes. Scholarships are most effective at increasing college completion rates when combined with some type of social engagement -- adult or peer mentoring, clubs/activities, summer internships and online discussion or social networking programs. Whatever engagement activity a program chooses, the purpose should be to provide personal and/or professional support for scholarship recipients in order to help them succeed in college and in life.
Click "More Details" below for requirements and expectations of all chapters. Click "Models" above to continue reading.
4. Three Affiliate Models to Fit Your Community
Dollars for Scholars affiliates govern and manage all aspects of their operations. To maintain their affiliation status with Scholarship America, they also adhere to the parameters and standards set forth in their affiliation agreement. There are three different ways to affiliate; early on in the process, you'll select which of the following fits best with your community:
1. Community Chapter: A locally-operated organization that incorporates and affiliates as a Dollars for Scholars chapter, operating under the umbrella of Scholarship America’s 501(c)(3) charitable, federal tax-exempt status (part of Scholarship America’s group IRS ruling).
2. Corporate Chapter: A locally-operated organization sponsored by a private company or corporation, led by employee volunteers, and operating under the umbrella of Scholarship America’s 501(c)(3) charitable, federal tax-exempt status (part of Scholarship America’s group IRS ruling).
3. Affiliate Provider: An existing non-profit organization incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable, federal tax-exempt entity, which is licensed to use the Dollars for Scholars program to provide postsecondary scholarships.
Each type of Dollars for Scholars affiliate is unique in terms of how it operates and the community and students it serves, but all programs are alike in their commitment to helping students access and succeed in their education beyond high school.
Click "More Details" below for specific requirements of each model. Click "Volunteers" above to continue reading.
5. The Role of Dollars for Scholars Volunteers
Volunteers are the backbone of any Dollars for Scholars affiliate. While organizations may have or hire staff, all community and corporate affiliates are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and all affiliate providers are led by a volunteer program committee. Volunteers for all types of affiliates are essential to carry out activities and events. A successful Dollars for Scholars affiliate has a robust, committed group of results-driven volunteers who bring diverse talents, resources and perspectives, and who are always recruiting new volunteers and building for the future.
Are you passionate about higher education in your community? Are you a connected, well-respected, recognized leader? Do you have a vision for a more successful community—and the ability to partner with other driven volunteers to make it happen? Then you're the right person to organize a new Dollars for Scholars affiliate.
You'll also need a team of fellow volunteers who share your passion and drive. Like you, they should be willing to commit to your community's educational future; they should also represent a diverse set of skills, backgrounds, opinions and connections.
Click "More Details" below for qualities and characteristics of the ideal chapter leaders and volunteers. Click "Costs" above to continue reading.
6. Costs of Affiliation
Start-up Affiliation Fees
Community Chapter = $1,000
Affiliate Provider = $2,000
Corporate Chapter = $3,000
Annual Affiliation Fees
Community Chapter (based on chapter’s total organizational assets):
Less than $50K = $400
$50K - $99K = $700 (fee includes tax preparation and filing)
$100K+ = $800 (fee includes tax preparation and filing)
Affiliate Providers (based on the organization’s annual operating budget):
Less than $500K = $800
$500K - $1.5M = $1,200
$1.5M+ = $1,500
Corporate Chapter (based on the company’s annual revenues):
Less than $500K = $1,500
$500K – $1.5M = $2,000
$1.5M+ = $2,500
Click "Next Steps" above to find out how you can start the affiliation process!
7. Take The Next Step
Click here to contact your Area Director and start the next steps in the process, including the Community Evaluation Survey and an Affiliate Organizer Profile.
Plan and Prepare, Phase 1
During this step, you will identify and select other organizers/leaders to help plan and lay the foundation for your Dollars for Scholars organization and/or program. You will also assess and select your community, identify the students you want to serve, and complete and return the Community Assessment form and Affiliate Organizer profile. To share all of the information from this overview with potential fellow volunteers, forward this link or download this printable PDF.
After you've sent those forms, your Area Director will schedule a one-on-one consultation where you can learn more about Dollars for Scholars and receive expert advice on developing your organization/program. You'll also receive more in-depth planning tools and information including Part 2 of the Community Assessment, a SWOT Analysis and a Business/Strategic Plan.
Plan and Prepare, Phase 2
During this phase of the process, you will build community interest, assemble a planning team, complete and return the planning tools provided, participate in a second consultation with your Area Director and hold your first official meeting.
Launch Your Program!
At this point, your group is ready to obtain Provisional Affiliation Status by completing and returning the following documentation: organization/program roster; organization by-laws; and the affiliation fee.
Within 90 days of your provisional affiliation, you'll need to finalize your Articles of Incorporation (Community Chapters and Affiliate Providers) and provide copies of bonding, insurance, a bank account signature card with EIN, and your signed affiliation agreement. You'll also go through program orientation training, set up your ChapterNet website, meet with your Area Director and get in touch with a local mentor program. At that point, you'll receive your program affiliation certificate and final affiliation agreement -- welcome aboard!
If you're interested in affiliating with Dollars for Scholars, please read through all of the overview pages at left; you can also visit the Chapter Search page to see if there are Dollars for Scholars affiliates in your area.
After you've read through each section, click below to fill out a quick survey letting us know you're interested.