Starting an Education Scholarship

Building a strong, united, knowledgeable, ethical and well-run country starts with obtaining a quality education. We often hear stories of people beating adversity and rising to success in the world of business or making a positive impact on the world after being raised in abject poverty. We hear these stories because of how uncommon they are–people who struggle to get an education often struggle after their education ends as mounds and mounds of debt can pile up.

Watching more and more young people force themselves into student loan debt year after year, semester after semester, is debilitating. And telling them to simply pull themselves up by the bootstraps is no longer an option–the average four-year college student graduates with over 30,000 in student loan debt to pay off.

A great way to help ease that debt to a degree while also leaving your mark on your alma mater is starting a scholarship.

Selecting The Criteria

A great place to start is by considering who you want to help. Do you want the scholarship to go to an incoming freshman majoring in the same area of study that you did, or would you rather it go towards a senior who worked on the newspaper or on the debate team? The beauty in starting a scholarship is that you get to select the criteria and set the amount of money and the frequency (yearly, every semester, biannually, etc).

The Process & Funds

Starting a scholarship at your alma mater is typically a fairly straightforward process. Once the money is raised (which can be done through a donation coming solely from you, or by gathering money and pooling it together), all that’s typically left is filling out a few forms or placing a call to your school’s office of development to get the process started.

Both means of fundraising are fairly common in scholarships, and will depend largely on who or what the scholarship is created for. Is it in memory of a friend, a classmate or a family member who was influential? If so, reaching out to mutual friends, family members and other community members who have been touched personally or professionally by this person can be beneficial in increasing the funding for the scholarship.

Putting it into Action

Once the funds have been raised and the forms have been filled out all that’s left to do is wait and see as your scholarship takes effect. Often, logistics prevent the scholarship from taking effect immediately, so the first round of scholarship endowments are often going to be given out the following academic year.

Your scholarship will make a real difference in someone’s life. Even a small scholarship, say $500 per semester, can cover the cost of books or a portion of a student’s tuition. Something that is small to you could be huge to a student.

To read more philanthropy pieces from Yuri Vanetik, visit Yuri on Blogger, connect with him on Twitter or visit YuriVanetik.org.