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!
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.