How to Start a Scholarship Fund

Scholarship and education assistance programs can help bring higher education to students around the world.

Scholarships are an excellent way to memorialize a loved one or to demonstrate your company’s commitment to a social responsibility.

But implementing a program on your own requires extra time, money and training. Ongoing marketing, application reviews, customer service and disbursement of funds can all add an excessive administrative burden on your internal team. We are experts in managing education assistance programs for corporations and foundations of all sizes – partnering with us will help give you back your time and save you money.

Here are some questions to ask before starting a scholarship program:

Clarify your audience
  • What students do you want to serve?
  • Are you providing assistance to your employees, their families or a community population?
  • Are you serving a specific population or field of study?

Knowing who your target audience is will help define the administration and funding process.

Funding, budgets, and sustainability
  • How is your scholarship being funded?
  • Will your scholarship be administered to students one time, or will it be renewed every year throughout a student’s college education?
  • 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
  • Will today’s students be able to apply online?
  • 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?

Lots of planning is needed up front to create a great scholarship program -- and that's before you start creating applications, selecting a review committee and answering applicant questions. Make sure you’re on the right track -- check out our free ebook for more advice!

Download Our Ebook: 10 Secrets To A Great Scholarship Program
Making an 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 create a scholarship 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 and more are considered prestigious -- the kind of award 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.

Whether you’re a company looking to start a scholarship fund for students of employees or an individual looking to start a memorial scholarship, you’re in good hands. Everyone deserves an opportunity for a higher education, regardless of financial status. At Scholarship America we can help you help others achieve their education goals. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can work together to make student dreams come true.

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Trusted expertise.

We manage over 1300 education assistance programs for clients that include global corporations, local businesses and individuals.

Proven impact.

Since 1958, we’ve distributed more than $4 billion in education assistance to over 2.4 million students all over the world.

Global reach.

Our programs reach students in over 100 countries around the world, giving international companies an international presence.

“We have used Scholarship America for one of our primary scholarship programs for many years. They are very easy to work with, very efficient and very reliable. We think they are the absolute best. Sharon Wood Johnson Scholarship FoundationScholarship America is an efficient, effective method for selecting scholarship winners in an unbiased manner. They are easy to work with, keep you on schedule, and made our program run as smoothly as possible.” Shannon Gustafson American Coalition for Ethanol“We have so many different scholarship funds with different criteria needs, so using Scholarship America was a great fit for our program. Scholarship America makes our selection process much easier! The ability for our students to complete one application and be considered for several funds is a time saver for them.” Bernice Uresti San Antonio Area Foundation“Since the transition from another industry leader we have been impressed and didn’t realize all we were missing in our program/services from the past provider. Scholarship America is the best scholarship management service in the industry with knowledge, quality, service and price.” Alison Foreman Book Industry Charitable Foundation“I have been so impressed with Scholarship America as an organization. I found my consultant there to be extremely helpful and very responsive. This was my organization's first time offering a scholarship program, and Scholarship America made the entire process seamless.” Dana Jones The Jones Group