Being awarded a scholarship can greatly impact a student’s academic career. In my job as advancement operations manager at a large university, one of our core roles is to work with donors to establish scholarships for students working to further themselves and their career.

Most scholarships are set up as an endowment, meaning a donor will typically give a minimum of $10,000 start the scholarship.

The initial gift of $10,000 is never spent, but stays in an account to be invested each year. These funds are then invested and the earnings from investments are then awarded as scholarships. Universities set up scholarships in this way so the scholarship can be awarded year after year, ensuring the success of students.

Because the money that can be awarded is invested, there might be some years where your university does not have as many scholarships to award as years before.

The stock market is volatile, and unfortunately, this can negatively impact students. However, that also means it can benefit students if the stock market had a good year.

When you apply for a scholarship in your college, your application will typically go before your college’s scholarship committee.

This committee may be comprised of your college’s administration, professors, instructors and even staff. Because of this, it is crucial you create positive and long standing relationships with all university employees you come in contact with. You do not want to miss out on potential funding because you and a professor did not get along. You also do not want to be the student every professor complains about so make sure you are always a positive force in the classroom.

Make your scholarship application appropriately stand out.

If a situation has occurred that has impacted your ability to pay tuition, make that known. The scholarship committee does not this information if you do not note it in your application. Make sure your application is error free as typos are as sign of carelessness. It is likely some scholarships are awarded to those who need financial assistance so make sure you have filled out your FASFA application.

People, like myself, who set up scholarships want all scholarships to be awarded at the end of the day.

We do not want to go to a donor and have to explain why we did not award their scholarship. It makes university look bad. Because of that, if you are needing financial assistance, meet with your college’s dean of students/student affairs. They are likely to know if there are scholarship funds available in your college. You should also go to your university’s financial aid office as they might be able to assist you as well. Make sure you are prepared when entering these meetings and can clearly state why you need financial assistance. This may be your only chance so make the most of it.

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If you are awarded a scholarship and are invited to a donor appreciation event, please make every effort to attend.

You might not be at your university without their financial support. There are more people than you realize who have helped create the scholarship you were awarded. It is likely the donors who originally funded your scholarship will be at the event as well. Please take this time to thank them and show your gratitude. Most donors to universities are older so make sure you dress and speak with them appropriately.

Kallie B
CABINET