Did you know that many scholarship awards are created by individuals or small nonprofits and organizations? If you want to create your own, whether to remember a loved one or help others, there are five questions you should ask yourself about how to set up a scholarship fund!
#1. How Much Do You Want to Award Students?
First off, you should consider your budget. Even if it’s only $500, it will help a student who needs financial assistance to attend college. You don’t necessarily have to grant thousands of dollars, but you may also have the budget for that, or you could have people who would like to fund your scholarship.
Some things to keep in mind that may affect your award amount include whether or not you’re creating a nonprofit, too, who you’re partnering with (if anyone), and the tax benefits.
#2. Who Do You Want to Help?
Next, you will want to think about who you will help with your award. Will the scholarship be available to all types of students or a specific group? Some awards will be dedicated to minorities, certain religions, particular majors, and more. Others may be only available to those who have demonstrated financial need.
If your scholarship is meant to be a memorial, you might want to dedicate the award to those who embody the loved one. Or something close to your heart. The good thing about scholarships is how customizable they are!
#3. What Requirements Will Be Set for the Scholarship?
You’ll also have to give thought to how students will qualify for the scholarship. This includes deadlines, eligibility criteria, the application process, and whether or not the award is renewable. Here are some further questions to ask yourself to help design the eligibility requirements (if you have any) and how to set up a scholarship fund:
- What education level is required?
- High school, college, graduate, trade school?
- Is the award location specific?
- Is there a minimum GPA, ACT, or SAT score required?
- Does the student have to demonstrate financial need?
- Does the student have to demonstrate volunteer or community service?
- Is a certain major or intended career field needed to qualify?
- What application materials will you require?
- Such as an essay, video, photo, application form, and/or letters of recommendation
- And if you include an essay, what should the students write about?
- What deadline will you set for the award?
- Will you have any race, ethnicity, or other restrictions on the scholarship?
- Will there be different renewal eligibility requirements?
#4. How Will You Manage the Scholarship?
Of course, you can’t simply list an award on a scholarship database and call it a day. There is a bit more work that is required here on how to set up a scholarship fund.
You will need to finalize your scholarship program by creating a nonprofit, working with a university, or partnering with a scholarship management service. The most cost-effective option tends to be working with a scholarship management service.
Once your scholarship is created, you will also need to promote and market the award. This can be done through the scholarship management service, but you will also want to make announcements on social media, to high schools if the students can qualify, and any networks you personally have in your community.
#5. How Will the Winners Be Chosen?
How the winners will be chosen should be decided before the award goes live. You will be able to start reviewing applications as soon as the deadline passes, but here are some aspects you’ll want to consider before and after the deadline.
- How will winners be chosen?
- Do you have certain criteria or aspects you’re looking for? Will applications be graded using a formula? If so, you may want to include this information in the scholarship announcement and rules.
- How many winners will there be?
- How will you work through all of the applications?
- Many scholarship management services will recommend the best candidates based on your scholarship requirements.
- How long will it take to notify the winners?
Of course, at this point, after your scholarship has been awarded, you will want to ask yourself, “Do I want to do this again?” Some scholarships are only given for a single year, while other awards go on for decades! Your budget and goals will come into play here, but it’s important to not rush the decision.
Starting a scholarship can be extremely rewarding and allow you to give back to students within your community while championing a cause you believe in. Creating one of these awards shouldn’t be done on a whim necessarily, as you do need to give thought to your budget, goals, and more to craft a scholarship that not only benefits potential recipients but also aligns with your intentions.