Monday, April 3, 2017

Effective College Scholarships

Kathleen Sayce, April 2, 2017

Not all scholarships are applied for every year when each crop of seniors graduates from high school and prepares for higher education. We talked to college counselors at several local high schools and learned that this is normal. But why? For college bound students, even a few hundred dollars helps, so we looked in more detail at why this happens, to see if there are guidelines to use when making and managing scholarships that overcome common problems. 

We learned some interesting facts about college scholarships and student behavior. Graduating seniors will often not apply if:
  1. Awards appear to be highly competitive. 
  2. Applications use unique forms or have special application requirements.
  3. Applicants have to hunt for information on what, when, and how to apply. 
  4. The amount awarded is small.
  5. The way awards are made is complex. 
  6. The area of study for the award is obscure. 

For each problem that surfaced, there is a solution that may help:

Competition:  This may be coverage, as in a large geographic area, or study area of focus, or looking for one outstanding student instead of several. If you are planning a new scholarship, think about writing the criteria to make yours seem possible to win by more students. Not every scholarship can pick from 'the best of the best' across multiple schools. Nor should it. The students who do best in life aren't the A+ group, but the B group. They learn early how to work harder, and keep doing so all the way through life. Think Honor Roll, but not Valedictorian. 

Application Forms and Requirements:  Use standard forms! Keep unique requirements to a minimum—an essay or letter. Don’t create all new forms and an all new process. 

Institutional Information about Scholarships:  Keep college counselors in local high schools informed about new and ongoing scholarships. Consider using electronic posting services. In Washington, this includes The Wash Board, a statewide site for high schools, colleges and scholarship providers. Students log in, and see relevant scholarships by geographic area and area of study—it’s much simpler than in past decades. It also gives high schools one place to see all the scholarships that each one offers. 

Clarity:  Every scholarship begins with a great idea—to help future students with higher education. Keep this in mind when you set out the goals for successful applicants. Be clear. Be concise. Be consistent. Be especially clear about what the student needs to do, after having been chosen, to apply for the funds. 

Awards:  Bigger is better. One thousand dollars ($1,000) is a good starting point. Five thousand ($5,000) is better. One year is good. Four years of awards is better. ‘Full rides’—tution, room and board, and money for books, for four full years is fantastic. Think about adding to an existing fund to increase the size of its awards rather than starting a new, and much smaller one. 

Award Timing and Process:   Does the student apply for her or his award after their first term is complete? Or after the first or second year? Clarity is important. Set out the timing to apply for the funds, and how to apply very clearly. 

Area of Study:  Don’t be too specific—your original focus of study may disappear in a few years or a decade. Cultures change. Times change. Departments change. Studies change. Be flexible looking into the future. 

*****
Scholarships are a wonderful idea, a way to help generations of students who come after you to gain training that helps them on to successful lives as adults. Those who get help along the way, in turn will help others when the time comes. And that’s the culture we want to encourage—one where those that can help those who need, so that everyone gets by.  


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why Use The Foundation For Scholarships?

March 2, 2017
Kathleen Sayce

I've been asked what services South Pacific County Community Foundation provides to local nonprofit groups for scholarship management three times in the past two weeks, so here's a summary:

1.  You do not need to set up a new stand-alone investment relationship to have your money invested.  Your money is co-managed with other Foundation monies in our investment accounts. As we grow, the cost of funds management decreases--you get this benefit. This reduces your Fund's management expenses every year. It also means you can benefit from investing in the securities market, and grow your Fund's money at more than current interest rates. 

2. You can check the status of your Fund at any time through our online accounting system. This includes expenses, income, donations, and donors to your Fund. The donor list is updated whenever a new donation is made to your Fund. 

3. Your Fund has its own webpage, including photos, other images, and text content, along with a donation portal on our website. 

4. Donors can make donations at any time convenient to them using a credit card. Donors automatically get a statement of donation for their IRS reporting. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by federal tax law. 

5. The Foundation has an established protocol for scholarships, so you do not have to recreate a process. This includes timing to take in applications for the current year, review of eligibility, reporting awardees to appropriate high schools (in which you may participate each year), and generating checks to appropriate colleges or other educational institutions when the student is ready to use the funds.  

In sum, we leave choosing the students who get your scholarship to you, and do the rest. Or, if you prefer, we also make the selection for you, and announce this in your name each year at the appropriate high school. 

If you are interested in learning more, call the Foundation (360-665-5292 or 360-665-4766) or email at info@spccf.org. 




Monday, January 16, 2017

Happenings at the Foundation

As 2017 gets underway, it's time for an update on new funds at the foundation. Several new funds were started in 2016. Web pages for each one will follow shortly. Meanwhile, these funds are listed on our main donation page, and open for new donations. See our current list at: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/list

Janet Mack Wilson Memorial Fund celebrates the life of a beloved wife, mother, active community member and mathematician from Bay Center, who died mid year.  This fund provides up to two $5,000 scholarships in fundamental sciences and engineering to graduating seniors of South Bend and Raymond High Schools. 
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1015

Natural Resource Center Fund was opened by the Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. This dynamic group is starting a multi-year capital campaign. The refuge badly needs new offices. The Friends want to add visitor amenities that are usually not included in refuge building projects, so they asked the foundation for support in managing their capital campaign, and the board (of course) said 'Yes!'
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1016

Pacific County Marine Resources Committee Fund was started by the PCMRC to help bridge the gap between state funding and private donations for projects and events. PCMRC is an active county committee that supports habitat restoration, education and local science events in Pacific County. 
Donate to this fund:  https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1014

South Pacific County Fisheries Trust Fund was opened by local fishermen to support retention of fishing permits in local waters. Commercial fishing is a key part of our economy. No one in south county wants to look up some day and see that there are no local commercial fishing boats or seafood processors. When permits come up for sale, often they are purchased by out of area processors or fishermen. Working with a local nonprofit fishermen's association, the foundation will transfer donations to the appropriate entity to buy out permits, which will then be leased or sold to new incoming fishermen. 
Donate to this fund: https://spccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=1017

Other funds are pending:  Wellspring Community Network is opening a fund soon to help fund some of their projects. Local residents contact us regularly about bequests, as a result we have several pending funds that will open in the future with significant bequests. 

Offering our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017 to all!