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Diversifying Scholarship Fund Sources

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

Diversifying Scholarship Fund Sources

If one thing remains true about higher education, it’s that scholarships will always be a major part of our universities and colleges. Scholarships help students better afford college and oftentimes, allow students an opportunity to attend that they otherwise would not have gotten. With the cost of college continuously rising, more and more students are applying for scholarships.

As a scholarship manager or administrator, it’s clear that you enjoy helping others achieve their dreams of attending college or university. We know how disheartening it can be to turn down bright applicants due to a lack of funding. That’s why scholarship fund diversification is so important.

Diversifying scholarship fund sources allows your institution the opportunity to have a larger amount of funds on hand. This, in turn, allows you to reward more applicants with scholarships. Continue reading as we explore options to diversify your scholarship fund sources.

Understanding Traditional Fund Sources

Traditional fund sources are the sources you likely think of when you think about scholarships. These include:

  • Donations
  • Government grants, and
  • Endowments.

A donation scholarship fund includes funds that have been donated to the institution for the funding of scholarships. Common donors include alumni, philanthropists, and university personnel.

A government grant scholarship fund includes funds given by the federal or state government to be used for scholarships.

Finally, a scholarship endowment is a financial fund established by donors or institutions to support educational scholarships in perpetuity.

While traditional funding sources have many benefits and are incredibly useful, they also have limitations and challenges. When it comes to traditional funding sources, you’re likely receiving a set and limited amount of funds. So, when those funds run out, you are simply out of luck until the next funding amount comes through.

Traditional scholarship funds may also limit the types of applicants that can apply. That’s where scholarship fund diversification comes in. Diversifying scholarship funds can also help diversify the student population applying for and receiving your scholarships.

Why is student diversity so important in scholarship programs?

Student diversity is important in scholarship programs for several reasons:

  1. Access: Diversity in scholarship programs helps ensure access to educational opportunities for students from various backgrounds, including those who may face socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, or other barriers that can make higher education less accessible.
  2. Diverse Perspectives: A diverse student body brings together individuals with different life experiences, cultural backgrounds, and viewpoints. This diversity of perspectives enriches classroom discussions, fosters critical thinking, and prepares students to navigate and thrive in an increasingly diverse and globalized world.
  3. Talent Development: Providing financial support to students from underrepresented or disadvantaged communities, empowers scholarship programs to help nurture and develop talented individuals who might otherwise be unable to pursue higher education due to financial constraints.
  4. Societal Impact: A more diverse and inclusive educational environment can help break down stereotypes and promote understanding. It also ensures that a wide range of voices and perspectives are represented in various fields and professions.
  5. Innovation and Problem-Solving: It helps institutions cultivate a pool of talented and diverse individuals who can contribute innovative solutions to complex challenges.
  6. Role Models and Representation: Students from underrepresented groups can benefit from seeing successful individuals from similar backgrounds, providing them with role models and inspiring them to pursue their educational and career aspirations.

Overall, student diversity in scholarship programs enriches the educational experience, develops a diverse talent pool, and contributes to a more innovative society.

Exploring Alternative Funding OptionsExploring-Alternative-Funding-Options-Internal-Image-2-April-2024

What other scholarship funding options are there? Some alternative options include:

  • Corporate sponsorships
  • Crowdfunding, and
  • Partnerships.

A corporate sponsorship scholarship fund is exactly how it sounds! It is a fund created by an organization or business to be used for individuals or a group of individuals to attend college.

A crowdfunding scholarship fund is one created by raising money for a specific thing, in this case, scholarships.

A partnership scholarship fund is one contributed to by businesses or organizations that an educational institution has a partnership with.

Corporate Partnerships and SponsorshipsCorporate-Partnerships-and-Sponsorships-Internal-Image-2-April-2024

Partnering with and developing professional relationships with corporations as part of scholarship fund diversification strategy can increase fund size while increasing the number of scholarships awarded. It’s a win-win situation. As with most scholarship types, corporate scholarships typically come in two forms: merit-based and need-based. Corporate scholarships play an important role in developing future talent, as well as supporting deserving students based on their academic performances.

Attracting corporate sponsors and partners can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! The key is to properly research each corporation you want to reach out to, properly plan your proposal, and search for common ground. Corporations are more likely to team up with your organization if they feel like your mission is relevant. Corporations themselves also gain benefits from doing this - it enhances their reputation, gives them tax breaks, and promotes talent development.

Alumni and Community Engagement

Community is so important! One great way to increase the size of your scholarship fund is to get local - reach out to community members and alumni. The better relationships your institution has with the community and alumni, the better luck you will find in receiving their assistance. Fostering meaningful connections with both groups will promote them to donate into your scholarship funds.

If you’re unsure how to go about developing relationships with your community and/or alumni, we have strategies for you. When it comes to alumni engagement, be sure to include them in as much as you can. Maybe that looks like setting an alumni meeting to discuss scholarship ideas or maybe that’s hosting a banquet or dinner in their honor. When it comes to the community, give back in any ways that you can! Communities are more likely to support institutions if they feel the institutions are benefiting and enhancing their communities.

Grant Opportunities and Foundations

Another option to increase your scholarship fund and help more students achieve their dreams is to secure grants. You can secure grants from government agencies, non-profits, and foundations. Grants are essentially gifted funds.

If you’re hoping to secure grants for your scholarship fund, you’ll need to write a grant proposal. A grant proposal is where you will explain what the funds would be used for - in this case, grant funds would be used for scholarship awards. Writing a good proposal is key in securing grants.

Here are some tips to help you craft an informative and impressive grant proposal:

  • Keep the audience in mind
  • Craft a detailed plan
  • Keep the content organized, and
  • Give yourself plenty of time to craft the proposal.

How do you identify relevant grant opportunities? First, define your objectives. Then, carefully read eligibility requirements. We recommend utilizing online databases, knowing your audience, and exploring local resources. Once you find the perfect grant opportunities, all that’s left to do is apply!

Leveraging Technology and Innovation

Technology and innovation are game-changers for diversifying scholarship fund sources. Digital fundraising platforms enable organizations to connect with a global network of supporters and solicit donations online. Social media campaigns and targeted digital marketing amplify visibility and attract diverse donors.

Emerging technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies offer secure, transparent fundraising solutions as well. Blockchain-based donation platforms ensure transaction integrity, fostering trust among donors. Accepting cryptocurrency donations taps into tech-savvy donor pools.

Crowdfunding platforms are innovative for diversifying funds. By creating compelling campaigns, organizations can leverage collective support from a global audience passionate about education.

Partnerships with corporations and philanthropic organizations can be facilitated through technology-enabled collaboration tools and data analytics, identifying aligned interests for targeted outreach.

Organizations should continuously explore emerging technologies and innovative strategies. Embracing digital solutions like online platforms, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, and data-driven partnerships can open up new revenue streams. This diversifies scholarship fund sources, increases impact, and provides educational opportunities to a broader range of deserving students.

Financial Sustainability and Long-Term Planning

To run a successful scholarship fund, you have to ensure it’s sustainable. You can lose applicants and donors by not remaining sustainable and effective over time. Keeping a good reputation is key. So, how can you plan for your institution to remain financially sustainable?

Creating an organized, solid plan is your first step to maintaining financial sustainability. This will look like adding up all potential costs and scholarship payouts, and then comparing that to the amount of funds your scholarship fund is receiving. You will likely create a team dedicated to completing this plan - they will need to assess each individual piece of the scholarship fund. Creating a sustainability plan will be of great benefit to your team in understanding where you need to increase funds, organize them, etc.

Up Your Scholarship Fund Diversification Game

As you can see, there are many options available to increase your scholarship fund. Diversifying scholarship fund sources comes with great benefits to your institution. It can increase the amount of funds you have, can increase awards given to applicants, can enhance your institution’s reputation, and more.

Traditional scholarship fund sources will continue to remain important, but engaging in innovation and seeking diverse sources will help your institution continue to grow and thrive. Be sure to look into the various options we listed above to diversify your scholarship fund. And, when you’re ready to launch your scholarship program, we hope you will consider SmarterSelect to do it!


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