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Overcoming the Challenges in Administering Corporate Scholarship Programs

Better application management of scholarships, grants, awards, and more.

Overcoming the Challenges in Administering Corporate Scholarship Programs

Want to provide educational opportunities and foster the future success of the professionals of tomorrow? If so, you might be considering starting a corporate scholarship program. As you get into the thick of things though, you’re likely to come up on challenges in administering corporate scholarship programs. These challenges could bring your dreams of giving money to deserving people to a grinding halt. We don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why in this post we’re sharing some of the common challenges, and giving our best advice for circumventing them.

Common Challenges in Administering Corporate Scholarship Programs

The most common corporate scholarship program administration challenges are:

  • Managing a large volume of applications and paperwork.
  • Ensuring fairness and transparency in the selection process.
  • Providing ongoing support and communication to scholarship recipients.
  • Evaluating program outcomes and impact.

Now that you have a brief overview of the common challenges, let’s get to what you really came here for - how to overcome them!

Streamlining Application Processes

What does streamlining the application process look like in practice? For starters it means using technology to make quick work of creating and filtering online applications.

For example, SmarterSelect scholarship management software gives you the tools to create an application fast. Start with a simple template, and then populate your application with the questions designed to bring the creme de la creme of applicants to your digital doorstep. With the software’s ability to upload documents and add rubrics, you can automate your screening and filter your pool of applicants to the most qualified individuals. Imagine being able to take a pool of a thousand or more candidates and effortlessly filter it down to just a couple dozen or less! Sounds a lot less overwhelming for your evaluation committee doesn’t it?


Implementing automated screening tools aids scholarship administrators in managing the high volume of applications efficiently. These tools can filter applications based on predetermined criteria, saving you countless hours and effort. With software on your side, you can even develop clear and user-friendly application guidelines that ensures applicants understand the requirements and can navigate the process easily. In other words, you can put a stop, or at least prevent a large number of troubleshooting emails from people that don’t know how to fill out their applications!

Ensuring Fair and Transparent Selection

Being fair and transparent about how you select your recipient(s) is also made easier with software. The first and most important step if you want to prevent common challenges in administering corporate scholarship programs is to establish comprehensive and well-defined selection criteria that align with the program's goals and objectives. Your criteria needs to be communicated clearly to everyone involved (applicants, evaluators, donors, etc…)

It’s also critical to train your evaluators in exactly what you’re looking for to minimize bias and ensure consistent evaluation. Finally, it’s a good idea to implement blind or anonymous evaluation processes - this is an important step because it removes identifying information from applications to prevent any potential bias based on personal characteristics.

Building Strong Communication Channels

Effective communication is essential in administering corporate scholarship programs. To achieve this, scholarship providers should establish clear lines of communication with both applicants and recipients. This includes providing easily accessible contact information and channels for inquiries and support.

Timely updates and notifications should be consistently provided to keep applicants and recipients informed about the progress of their applications or scholarships. Moreover, creating platforms, such as online portals or networking events, for recipients to connect with program administrators and mentors fosters a supportive community and enables valuable guidance.

Providing Ongoing Support

Providing ongoing support is vital in maximizing the impact of corporate scholarship programs.

Think mentorship, guidance, educational advice, etc… You could even develop internships for your potential recipient(s) to help them gain experience in their respective fields.

By pairing recipients with experienced mentors, they can receive valuable advice, support, and guidance throughout their academic journey. Additionally, connecting recipients with resources for academic and career success, such as workshops, networking opportunities, and skill-building programs, empowers them to thrive beyond their scholarship.


Monitoring the progress of recipients is crucial to identify any challenges they may face and offer assistance when needed. This may involve regular check-ins, progress evaluations, and creating a support system to ensure recipients are on track and have the necessary resources to succeed. By providing comprehensive ongoing support, scholarship programs can help recipients overcome obstacles and maximize their potential for long-term success.

Program Evaluation and Impact Assessment

Program evaluation and impact assessment are crucial components of administering corporate scholarship programs. To ensure their effectiveness, scholarship providers should collect and analyze data on program outcomes and effectiveness.


This includes tracking metrics such as graduation rates, academic achievements, career trajectories, and feedback from recipients. Engaging stakeholders, including scholarship recipients, corporate partners, and educational institutions, in feedback and evaluation processes allows for a comprehensive understanding of the program's impact. By incorporating their perspectives, valuable insights can be gained regarding areas of improvement and success. These insights should be used to make informed decisions and enhance the program. By continuously evaluating and assessing the program's impact, scholarship providers can adapt and refine their strategies to maximize the benefits for recipients and ensure long-term success.

Collaboration and Partnerships

Collaboration and partnerships play a vital role in the success of corporate scholarship programs.

  1. Collaborate with educational institutions: This can provide valuable support and expertise. Establishing relationships with schools, colleges, and universities allows for streamlined processes, access to academic resources, and a deeper understanding of the educational landscape. 
  2. Form partnerships with other organizations: Doing so enables resource sharing and enhances the program's reach and impact. This can involve partnering with non-profit organizations, foundations, or government agencies to leverage their networks, funding opportunities, or specialized expertise.
  3. Engage corporate employees as volunteers or mentors in the program: Acts like this create a direct connection between scholarship recipients and professionals in the field. Their involvement can provide valuable guidance, mentorship, and industry insights to support the development and success of the recipients.

By fostering collaboration and partnerships, scholarship programs can tap into collective expertise, expand their resources, and create a robust support system for recipients.

Addressing Financial Sustainability

Financial sustainability is crucial for the long-term success of corporate scholarship programs. To ensure ongoing funding, scholarship providers should focus on several key strategies.

  1. Identify and secure long-term funding sources: This may involve establishing partnerships with philanthropic organizations, government entities, or private donors who are committed to supporting educational initiatives.
  2. Explore partnerships with other corporations or foundations: Partnerships can provide additional funding opportunities and shared resources. Collaborative efforts can strengthen the financial stability of the program and expand its reach.
  3. Establish endowments or implement fundraising efforts: Both of these options can help sustain the program over time. Creating an endowment fund allows for the generation of income through investments, while fundraising efforts can involve events, campaigns, or donor contributions.

By implementing these strategies, scholarship programs can ensure financial sustainability and continue providing educational opportunities to deserving individuals in the long run.

Staff Training and Development

Staff training and development are crucial for the effective administration of corporate scholarship programs. To ensure program success, scholarship providers should focus on the following points.

  • Providing comprehensive training for program administrators on best practices equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively manage the program. This training may cover areas such as application review, selection processes, communication strategies, and program evaluation.
  • It's also important to keep staff updated on changes in scholarship policies and regulations to ensure compliance and consistency. Regular training sessions or updates on policy changes help staff stay informed and adapt their practices accordingly.
  • You’ll also want to nurture a culture of continuous improvement and learning within the organization. Doing so helps foster innovation and growth. Encouraging staff to engage in professional development opportunities, share best practices, and learn from each other's experiences promotes a dynamic and effective scholarship program.

Corporate Scholarship Challenges Can Be Overcome

We’ve covered several challenges in administering corporate scholarship programs, but we’ve also shared many of the ways to overcome them. One of the best ways to eliminate many of the challenges you’ll face is to use scholarship management software like SmarterSelect. From easy to use templates for building applications and sending correspondence to our user forum designed to inspire and educate you, it’s never been easier to start and run a scholarship program. But, don’t take our word for it. See all the ways that SmarterSelect can help you take the headaches and guesswork out of corporate scholarship program administration. Click here to schedule a free demo and let’s get you ready to roll out your next program with ease!


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