How (and Why) You Should Create a Scholarship as a CEO

In today’s job market, prospective employees face stiff competition. Candidates with a strong educational background often have the upper hand. It’s unfortunate then, that the costs of secondary learning can bar talented students from getting the education they deserve. As individuals highly established in their careers, CEOs are in an ideal position to assist those with similar potential. By sponsoring a scholarship, CEOs grant disadvantaged students the same opportunities that they themselves capitalized upon.


Scholarships offer support in a variety of ways. As company representatives, CEOs play an active role in the community. Besides demonstrating a company’s commitment to social causes, scholarships can be used to honor local icons known for their dedication to philanthropy, community projects, or any sort of long-term betterment initiative. In fact, memorial scholarships can be established in anyone’s name, including friends, family and loved ones.

In addition, scholarships can serve as means of building a connection between CEOs and promising students. Donors can track students’ achievements as they progress through their studies, opening the door for mentorships and other forms of meaningful interaction. Also important is the fact that many schools rely on private aid for support, and setting up a scholarship is a great way for a CEO to give something tangible back to their alma mater.

Starting a scholarship involves answering several core questions:


Who is the target demographic?

Will your scholarship benefit students in a particular area of study, such as the technical fields? Terms of qualification can also be based around general criteria, such as leadership capability. In addition, you’ll have to clarify who is eligible to apply; scholarship programs can be made exclusive to employees’ family members, or residents within a specific location.


How will the program be designed/implemented?

You’ll need to determine how many scholarships will be offered per program, as well as whether they will be one-time, or renewable. Also important to work out are application deadlines, a timeline for payment distribution, and how often scholarships are offered. Roles should be designated as to who will create the application template, evaluate submissions, select recipients, and act as a liaison for related questions. Throughout the design process, it’s essential to ensure that your organization has the resources and time to continually coordinate the program and distribute awards. A valid alternative is to hire a third-party scholarship administrator to handle design and distribution.


How will the program be funded/budgeted?

When deciding on the value of awards per student, a good general ballpark is anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The costs don’t end there, however; you’ll likely also have to pay legal and accounting expenses, as well as fees for printing, mailing, and marketing.


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