Documentation required before sending a check to a college or university

I'm wondering what documentation we should be asking of the scholarship recipient before we can send a tuition payment to their college or university. In the past we've asked for a copy of the bill the college sends to the student during the summer. Is that adequate? Is there something else that would work just as well? And would a screenshot of that bill suffice since colleges do so much now through the student's online student portal?


  • Back in my scholarship administration days, I would accept a Proof of Enrollment from the Registrars Office, Class Schedule or Bill. Anything that confirmed the student was attending in Fall worked for us because the money was sent to the College/University and the amount they owed didn't affect the amount we sent. We gave the Financial Aid Office instructions with the check and left the responsibility of proper administration with them.

    I'm tagging a few clients below who may have additional comments or insight.

    @CiaraStahly @DeborahClark @DanielleFleer

    Alyse Braaten | Manager of Client Services – Grants & Scholarships | | Bozeman, MT

    [email protected] | Direct: 406.922.3376 | Cell: 661.364.1012

  • Our Foundation pays scholarship awards directly to the College/University as well, but only after the student signs and returns a Scholarship Grant Agreement. This can be done either online or in paper form. If a scholarship is over $1,000.00, the school is directed to apply one-half to the fall semester, and one-half to the spring semester.

  • @DeborahClark in that Scholarship Agreement form, do they have to upload any documents to prove their school of attendance or enrollment status?

    Alyse Braaten | Manager of Client Services – Grants & Scholarships | | Bozeman, MT

    [email protected] | Direct: 406.922.3376 | Cell: 661.364.1012

  • Our Foundation enters into a grant agreement with the Institution who then handles the scholarship on our behalf through their systems. As part of that agreement, they provide us a letter that indicates who the recipient was and that the scholarship was used, prior to us allowing additional funds to be granted. The agreement may also specify that the funder be invited to awards presentations.

    Lorna Sandberg

    Donor Services Administrator

    (306) 527-7630 (cell)

    (306) 751-4751 (work)


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  • We have actually started requiring students to submit both their class schedule and statement of account. Below is the language we use on our online Follow Up Forms:

    Class Schedule Question: Upload a copy of your class schedule (e.g. screenshot of class calendar, class list, etc.) to verify you enrollment status for the 2020 fall semester. If you will not have your classes scheduled by the July 1, 2020 due date, contact the Scholarship Officer.

    Statement of Account: Upload a copy of your statement of account (e.g. billing statement, financial aid package from school, etc.) to verify you are enrolled for the 2020 fall semester. If your school does not release this information prior to the July 1, 2020 due date, contact the Scholarship Officer.

    We require the class schedule because some scholarships specifically state that the student be in enrolled full-time and some recipients don't attend until the spring semester. This is also helpful to know which students are on co-op in the fall vs the spring. We require a statement of account because for some of our recipients (mainly company employee scholarships), they might not be enrolled until they find out their are a recipient. We've had cases of students submitted their information and us sending the scholarship check to that university then the university returns it because that student wasn't enrolled yet. The biggest challenge I found with requiring this information by July 1 is that depending on the school, some don't release a statement of account this early or some incoming freshman students haven't even signed up for classes yet. We inform the recipients that if they can't get this information by that due date to contact us as so we can work with them on a case by case basis.

  • Our Foundation only requires a scholarship agreement, which allows us to gather information to send the check directly to the school.

  • Sara, I'm confused what you mean by "This is also helpful to know which students are on co-op in the fall vs the spring." What do you mean by a co-op?

  • @ConnieLeeper co-op (short for cooperative education program) is similar to an internship but co-ops are almost always a full-time paid position and students are not just limited to doing one just during the summer semester. Most of our engineering and construction management students must complete 2-3 of them as a college graduation requirement. We have a lot of scholarships for these types of majors so it’s a common occurrence for us. I am seeing more colleges adding this as a requirement for other majors too though. Typically students aren’t enrolled in classes that semester or only taking 1-2 classes but they have to get their co-op approved by their department or co-op program at their school as it counts for college credits and shows up as a class they are enrolled in on their transcript. Depending on the school, students have to pay for that co-op credit since it’s a graduation requirement. Some can be as low as $500 and since we don’t specify on our payments to colleges which semester they are applying the scholarship too, they typically split it in half. So if a student received a $2,000 award, many schools will ask if we can apply part of the scholarship to cover their co-op fee then apply the remaining to the following fall semester or summer semester in some cases. Since many colleges (at least around my area) treat their summer semester as the start of a new school year, they have to get approval to transfer the funds to the next school year. It makes our life a little easier to know ahead of time. Hope that answers your question!

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