6 Guidelines for Choosing Scholarship Criteria

If your company or organization is considering establishing a scholarship for students, congratulations! You’ve chosen to give back to the community and assist budding minds in reaching their full potential. Be warned, however: You could be inundated with hundreds, or even thousands, of applications. Filtering through them can be a daunting and time-consuming process. Fortunately, technology can help. Setting up scholarship criteria is an important step to ensure your financial assistance is reaching the right recipient. Here are a few criteria to consider as you get started.

A Fair and Efficient Review Process for Scholarships and Fellowships@2x

Why establish scholarship criteria?

Simply put, you have to add a few filters for prospective students or you could be bogged down with too many applications, or unqualified ones. Additionally, establishing clear criteria up front will help your team more quickly and confidently review applications and select the best candidate.

1. GPA

One regularly assessed criteria is a strong and consistent GPA. Many scholarships require at least a 3.0 or even a 3.5. If the award is a renewable amount that’s paid out annually, as opposed to a one-time award, you could require that the student maintain a certain GPA annually while or risk forfeiting any future funds. This requirement could also provide a continuing source of motivation for the student when school is challenging.

Book Cover Banner: Buyer's Guide for Application Management Software

2. Financial need

Often, scholarship criteria involve financial need. You may want to help talented students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college because of its growing costs. Requiring that the income of applicants’ families falls below a certain amount is a common guideline that’s easy to verify via tax documents, payroll stubs, and the like.

3. Geographic boundaries

Geographic boundaries are another popular criteria choice. After all, if you’re looking to possibly hire the student once they graduate, it does no good if they’re allowed to use your funds to attend a college far away, where they will establish networks and possibly find a local job after taking their degree. Establishing this sort of requirement also allows you to serve a specific community, most likely a geographic region your organization serves.

4. Current employees

You might restrict applicants to immediate family members of current employees. This can be an excellent perk for employees with kids who are nearing college age. Be careful not to place restrictions that are too stringent, however, or you may not find applicants at all. On the other hand, you may wish to limit applications to students with no familial association to your current employees, to ensure the appearance of equity.

5. Demographics

Demographic restrictions are often used when creating an applicant pool. This is helpful for leveling the playing field to give marginalized individuals similar opportunity. This can be based on the demographics of your employees, institution, or community.

6. Field of interest

Your company may want to encourage individuals to enter a set field of study. This may aid in recruitment further on, fulfilling a human resources shortage you may be experiencing. Or you may simply be interested in promoting certain interests for the good of the industry as a whole.

Want to save streamline your scholarship management? 

See how Submittable can save you time and money.

These are but a few of the many potential guidelines you can choose when setting up a scholarship. From scholastic achievements to fields of interest, the scholarship criteria you choose is all up to you.

Want to explore how Submittable could help your organization increase the quality of its scholarship review process? Connect with us today to learn more about our scholarship management software.

Sarah Aswell

Sarah Aswell is an editor and content strategist at Submittable. She’s also a writer and stand-up comedian who gets rejected via Submittable all the time. You can read her comedy criticism at Forbes, follow her on Twitter, or learn more about her creative work on her website.