Scholarship Policies - focus on administration of multi-year awards

We're looking to add some strength to our scholarship policy. While it covers the necessary/required bases, it leans more toward the nuts and bolts of establishing the fund and its criteria. Many of the nuances that come along through administration are handled on a case-by-case basis and I'd like to make it more standardized. "Because I said so" isn't very compelling.

I'm particularly interested in any policies/language that relate to duration of scholarships that are multi-year. If a student starts at a community college and is the recipient of a four-year scholarship, does it terminate once the initial degree is earned (in two years), basically leaving half of the scholarship on the table, or does it follow the student if they continue at a four-year institution to complete a bachelor's degree. We tend to follow a 'maximum of four years or until initial degree is earned', but it's more grey than I'd like.

The second policy element I'm exploring relates to the rules of engagement surrounding verification to receive the next installment of a multi-year scholarship. The intention is to have these students submit verification materials during our regular application cycle, but every year there's a small handful who ignore the language within award letters and future reminders, etc. and end up not submitting what we need to see.

Some of those students reach out to see why their scholarship never "showed up" on their account and then I have to explain where things got off track for them. Our typical stance is to have the student sit out for that year and then get back on track the following year. Most have no issue with that and actually take that tough lesson to heart by sprucing up their own organizational practices. While I understand the stance of "what's the big deal if you give it to them?" I think it sends a questionable message to the majority of students who honor the process and submit when/as intended.

Ultimately, I think the name of the game is to strike the best balance that supports/serves the recipient but doesn't produce collateral damage on the administration side.

TL;DR - share scholarship policies and any insights you have on administration of scholarships, especially multi-year (good, bad and ugly) to help us in our quest to strengthen policies 🙌

Thank you!

Jess Puglisi-Sanders 

Program Officer 

Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley 

1226 Chapline Street 

Wheeling, WV 26003 

Phone: 304-242-3144 

Direct: 304-230-1443

KaraAdamsLaurieAbildsoMeliaSwirsky

Comments

  • Language from our scholarship rules and policies:

    Total support cannot exceed two years for an associate program, four years for a bachelor’s degree and three years for post-graduate studies except medicine and pharmacy, which allow a maximum of four years. Eligibility ends after the maximum number of years or upon graduation, whichever is sooner. If you graduate early the scholarship will not carry over to additional degrees. Community college students who transfer to a bachelor’s degree program either immediately prior to or upon completion of their associate degrees are eligible to receive up to four years of scholarship assistance in total.

    We also have students who don't complete the renewal process. We send the first email with instructions in late April a couple of weeks before their classes should end. The renewal deadline is in mid-June, so a second notice/reminder email goes out one week before the deadline to those who still haven't completed the process. If they miss the deadline, then we make phone calls and leave voicemails giving them an additional 2-3 days. One of the practices that helps is giving them space on the original application to provide an alternate phone number, which is usually the home landline or parent's cell number. For the "You missed the deadline" calls, we try BOTH numbers if we are unable to speak to the student on their primary number. Telling the parent that the student missed the deadline and is about to throw away a few thousand dollars usually gains more traction.

    When someone contacts me after missing that extended deadline and they have missed the deadline the previous year as well, that's it. The scholarship is terminated; we don't reinstate it the next year. If it's their first time missing the deadline AND they contact me before I've prepared the final list of awards to be ratified at our September board meeting, I'll except the late renewal.

    KaraAdamsjesspuglisisandersLaurieAbildsoMeliaSwirsky
  • edited August 10

    Thanks, @RobinForemanWheeler - glad to know we're not on a lonely island and I appreciate the policy language!

    Does your renewal process/lifelines live within your overall scholarship policy?

    Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to chat further - [email protected]

    Thanks!

    Jess Puglisi-Sanders 

    Program Officer 

    Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley 

    1226 Chapline Street 

    Wheeling, WV 26003 

    Phone: 304-242-3144 

    Direct: 304-230-1443

    KaraAdamsMeliaSwirsky
  • edited August 10

    @jesspuglisisanders, the renewal process is just my standard practice. It is not formalized in the policy. Actually, we are new CSuite/SLM clients. We just went live with CSuite in July, and I just started the SLM training/implementation process. I'm not sure to what extent, if any, the process will change next year when I'm handling renewals through SLM for the first time.

    Robin C. Foreman-Wheeler, MBA, SHRM-CP, Pronouns: she/her

    Vice President for Administration

    Hampton Roads Community Foundation | 101 W. Main Street, Suite 4500, Norfolk, VA 23510 

    (757) 622-7951 

    HamptonRoadsCF.org

    [email protected]

    KaraAdamsMeliaSwirsky
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