Here are some ideas from the National Scholarship Providers Association on establishing a scholarship program.
- Define your purpose/objectives
- Why are we creating a scholarship program?
- What is the program’s destination?
- Where are we now and where do we expect to be in three to five years?
- What changes can we expect?
- Eligibility Criteria – The general criteria is used to determine whether or not an individual is qualified to apply for the scholarship. What are the three or four characteristics you want to see in a scholarship recipient? You should try and relate your scholarship objectives to concrete eligibility criteria. Some considerations:
- Resident in your state
- Education – is the recipient required to be a turfgrass student? Other major?
- Child or grandchild of a member
- Gender (ex: two awards per year – one male and one female)
- Leadership (character and personal merit)
- Service (continuous, long-term commitment, demonstrates social awareness)
- Selection Criteria – The selection criteria are the specific standards used to identify the most qualified applicants. Once criteria is identified, it is recommended that you prioritize them so that the profile of the scholarship recipient is clearly defined. Determine measurement factors such as:
- References- what kind and how many?
- Essay - what’s the topic? How long? Was it creative? Did it display passion towards the topic?
- Personal interview - all applicants? Only finalists?
- Financial need
- Award Amount – The size of the award will be determined in part by the funds available. An amount for the scholarship may be recommended, or you may prefer to suggest that it be determined annually.
- Duration of Award – The scholarship may be a one-time award, or it may be renewable. If the scholarship is renewable, you may want to limit the number of years a student can apply for and be awarded a renewal. Is it important that a new scholarship is awarded each year?
- Application Procedures
- Where and when are applications available?
- Where should completed applications be sent?
- What is the application deadline?
- What additional information must accompany the application? For example:
- An official academic transcript
- Letters of reference
- Written statement/essay
- Financial information
- Letter from school verifying full-time enrollment
- Selection Procedures and Policies (Selection Committee) – The selection of scholarship recipients is an important task, which is usually done by a selection committee. Procedures for appointing the selection committee and policies should be established. Some items to consider are:
- How long will committee members serve
- What will be their role and responsibilities
- Selection Procedures and Policies (Scholarship Recipient) – What process will be used to select the proposed scholarship recipient(s)? Here are some options:
- Will a rating system be used?
- Will scholarship applicants be interviewed?
- If a recipient is unable to use the scholarship, will it be given to an alternate?
- Award Procedures and Policies – When and how will awards be announced?
- Publicity – Publicizing the scholarship’s availability and who received the award is very important.
- Fundraising – a fundraising plan for the fund needs to be developed. Goals need to be determined and specific plans put into action. How will you raise the funds? Who is in charge of the fundraising, etc.
- Financial Administration – Who will be responsible for maintaining financial records, monitor investments, and issue the necessary financial reports? The following needs to be determined:
- What fund balance must we reach before we start granting scholarships?
- What administrative expenses will be applied to the fund?
- Staff time
- General expenses (postage, copying, phone, etc.)
- Fundraising costs/activities?
- Publicity costs, if any
- Committee meetings expenses
- Awards ceremony
- Scholarship Program Timeline – Here are some tips for creating a timeline of events
- When do we feel we will meet our fundraising goal to begin granting scholarships?
- When will publicity efforts begin describing the scholarship availability?
- When will applications be available to students?
- What is the application acceptance period and deadline?
- When will the selection committee be appointed?
- When will the scholarship recipients be selected?
- When will the awards be announced?
- When will the award check be issued?
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