The Importance of a Scholarship Contract

With the rising costs of college, more students are turning to scholarships to help defray the costs of higher education. However, colleges and other organizations only have a limited amount of funds to give out to students. Therefore, they need some way to make sure the students they do fund will make the most of the awarded funds—this is where a scholarship contract can prove essential.

A scholarship contract is an agreement between the giver and the recipient outlining the terms under which a recipient will be given the scholarship; it helps protect the recipient and the organization giving the scholarship. It is important to understand the importance of a scholarship contract, as well as some common inclusions, to help you create a sound contract.

What’s Included in a Scholarship Contract

The content of a scholarship contract will vary based on the conditions of the scholarship itself. It can be offered for academic achievements, for athletic performance, or for some other reason entirely. It is important the requirements of the scholarship be clearly outlined before a contract is drawn up.

A standard contract includes the following: the terms of the agreement, and acknowledgment between both parties that the terms are correct, and the signed agreement that the terms will be met.

Once the terms of the recipient keeping the scholarship are decided, it’s time to draw up a contract. Apart from the terms of the contract specifically, the other standard contract details should also be included, such as the involved parties. Just like a service or a sales contract, include as much detail as possible.

The parties must both check a box or give some other form of consent that they have read and agreed to the terms laid out in the contract. There might also be a statement for the signee to refuse the contract, stating that they do not agree to the terms. Finally, there is a place for the scholarship recipient’s signature, confirming their acknowledgment and agreement to the terms.

Why You Should Have a Scholarship Contract

Just as in any arrangement where money is being exchanged, a scholarship contract sets out clear guidelines and expectations for both parties to follow. The scholarship recipient knows he or she must maintain a certain GPA, or say attend a certain number of practices, to receive the benefits of the scholarship. The contract spells out in no uncertain terms what is expected of both parties, ensuring everyone is on the same page. The recipient knows what he or she must do to keep the scholarship, and the giver has a record of how much he or she is giving.

How to Make a Scholarship Contract

The first step is to determine the terms of the contract. Is there a requirement for the recipient’s course of study? Their academic performance? Or perhaps they’re required to be in a certain sport or other extracurricular activity. Make a list of these terms and conditions and put them in the contract. Then write out a statement the recipient can initial or check, signaling their agreement to the stipulations. Add a spot for the signature, and then get a copy to the recipient, either a paper copy or send one electronically.

Once both parties are in agreement, both of them sign. It’s best if each party has a copy or can access a copy easily. By making sure both parties can access the contract, there’s no chance that one or the other will claim he or she didn’t know or couldn’t remember one of the stipulations. It’s always there for easy reference.

With many students traveling a great distance to attend their institution of higher education, it’s not always feasible to sit down in person and go over a contract. This is where an online service can come in handy. In addition to hosting your completed scholarship contracts, it can host all the scholarship applications that come in beforehand, and help you sort them to find the most qualified candidates.

Rather than spending a small fortune on printing and mailing the appropriate paperwork, waiting weeks for it to be returned, and spending a few more weeks going through all the responses, you can streamline the whole process with effectively utilized software.

No matter the terms under which you’re granting a scholarship, it is important that both parties be informed of the conditions and that they are in agreement. By having the terms outlined in a signed document, there’s a significantly reduced chance of the agreement falling through.

Interested in streamlining your scholarship process? Learn more about Submittable’s scholarship management solution.

Sarah Aswell
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.