January 2, 2009, Newsletter Issue #149: What You Need to Know to Set Up a Scholarship Fund

Tip of the Week

Scholarship funds can be set up by any individual or organization. Creating a scholarship program might seem like a daunting task at first glance, but it seems much easier once you learn how to start a scholarship program. All it takes to set up a scholarship program is a combination of money and planning.

Steps in setting up a scholarship fund include:

Money - determine the amount of money available for the scholarship program. Many scholarship funds are started with generous donations from major corporate sponsors. Others are launched as a result of a bequest. Still others are the result of fundraising efforts of individuals or members of clubs or organizations.

Compliance - make sure the scholarship program is being established and operated within the boundaries of state and federal laws, including Internal Revenue Service regulations.

Scholarship Value - set an amount to be paid each year in scholarship funds. Some scholarship funds have a set dollar amount each year. Others are set up so that the value of funds to be awarded can change each year.

Eligibility Criteria - every scholarship fund must have documented criteria for eligibility, that specify the qualifications required to receive funding under the scholarship program.

Award Period - Some scholarships are one time awards for which previous winners may or may not be allowed to re-apply. Others are renewable based on certain criteria (such as satisfactory academic progress or continued performance ability).

Duration of Fund - some scholarship programs are one-time gifts. Others are established as endowment funds, in which the principal of the donation is invested and the interest is awarded to scholarship recipients. These types of scholarship programs become self perpetuating, if managed properly.

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