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 Program Management

Program Enhancements  Accountability


Toolkit Welcome

Criteria Development

Application Development & Process 

Application Development–  Scholar Snapp™

Online or Paper

Shifting to an Online Application 

Scholarship Application Documentation 

Utilizing the FAFSA and the SAR to Determine a Student’s “Need” 

Outreach and Marketing

Selection Process: Designing the Initial Selection Process 

Selection Process: Fair and Objective Selection Process

Selection Process: Selection Committees-Volunteer Management

Announcement Process

Award Displacement

Award Size and Scope

 Award Disbursement

IRS Information on Scholarships and Fellowships 

One-time or Renewable Scholarships 

Relationships with Colleges/Universities, High Schools, Families, or Providers 

Collaborating to Support Student Success 

Leveraging Scholarship Support

Maximizing College Relationships

Donor Recognition

Recognizing Scholarship Recipients

Student Outreach and Communications

Communications Timeline

Using Social Media to Stay in Touch

Social Media Strategies




Criteria Development 

The student constituency, the intended impact, and the funding strategy chosen by the provider determine the criteria that will be used to select the scholarship recipients.  Scholarships may be awarded based on many criteria, including but not limited to: geographic location, academic or career field, financial need, achievement, and demographic characteristics.  Providers should ensure that the criteria they select match the purpose and mission of the program, that they reach a broad pool of applicants, and that they use a non-discriminatory selection process. 

In addition to geographic or demographic criteria, the following are some common scholarship criteria to consider:

Merit/Academic performance

  • Grade Point Average 
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Completion of college-bound curriculum
  • Honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits

Need/Ability to Pay for College

  • Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) from results of the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) in relation to the Cost of Attendance (COA) at the selected post-secondary institution
  • Free or Reduced Lunch Status (at the high school level) as a proxy for income level
  • Dependency status


  • Environmental, cultural, educational or health barriers, etc.
  • Stage-in-life
  • Parenthood status
  • Immigrant status
  • Overcoming adversity


    School and Community Engagement

    • Extracurricular participation, including clubs, teams, pre-college programs, campus involvement, etc.
    • Volunteering
    • Service learning
    • Mission trips/faith-related commitments
    • Memberships

    College Plans or Actions

    • College selection
    • Full-time vs. part-time enrollment
    • In state vs. out-of-state
    • Field of study
    • Career choices


    • Responsibility in school, family, community organizations
    • On-campus nominations, elections, official positions

    Talent or Skill

    • Dramatic, performing or visual arts
    • Technical or technological abilities 
    • Athletics

    See the resource guide for a sample criteria spreadsheet and instructions.

    It is important to review the eligibility criteria and consider the impact such criteria may have on the quality and quantity of the applicant pool. For instance, if the criteria targets a graduating high school senior with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, community service experience, state residency, and attendance at a U.S. college, the applicant pool may be extremely large and potentially cumbersome to manage. It may be wise to consider adding financial need, career field or college major or some other criteria to help decrease the size of the applicant pool and to make it more manageable for the scholarship selection committee.  To allow for flexibility in decision-making, donors can also add preferences to the selection process, such as, “Preference will be given to education majors.” However, if no education majors apply, or their applications are sub-par, then the committee is free to award the scholarship to another deserving student.

    Scholarship providers should also revisit their criteria over time. Asking for too much information on the application can impact who applies for the scholarship and it may seem intrusive, unless the scholarship provider is seeking comprehensive information with the intent of providing comprehensive support.




     TGThe Scholarship Program Toolkit is made possible by a TG Public Benefit Grant.

    Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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