Groups or individuals establish endowed scholarships with a $2,500 corpus base. Once the $2,500 is reached, the scholarship is awarded one year after (to build up interest).
All the donations to the scholarship are used to build the corpus base. The bigger the base, the more that can be awarded each year.
How are Scholarship Criteria Determined?
Scholarship criteria may be as liberal or restrictive as the donor wishes. However, it is important that the criteria are not so narrow that it is difficult to find applicants who qualify for the scholarship. Donors may choose from many different approaches in defining the students who are eligible for their scholarships. Currently, USAO Alumni Scholarships are awarded to students who have a 2.5 grade point average and are considered full-time students (12 hours). Your scholarship award recipients may be selected based upon:
- Major (music, art, education, etc.)
- Year of study or number of credits earned to date
- Financial need (required, not required, or of secondary consideration only)
- Extracurricular activities (such as honor societies and student organizations)
Some scholarships have unique criteria of special interest to their donors. Scholarships may be offered to single parents or students who perform volunteer work. At USAO, we do have a need for retention scholarships which will provide ongoing funds on an annual basis as long as student eligibility is maintained.
How are the Scholarships Awarded?
USAO Alumni Scholarships awarded to current USAO students are applied toward tuition expenses over two trimesters. A student award presentation occurs at a banquet in November each year. Donors are invited to attend the ceremony and present the awards, if they so desire. There, they can meet scholarship recipients, as well as other individuals who have established scholarships at the college.
How Do I Know My Wishes Will Be Followed?
Once a donor selects criteria for a scholarship, a memorandum of understanding is prepared by the Alumni Association for the donor's approval. The donor is free to add, delete or modify criteria and a revised statement is then prepared. This process is repeated, if necessary, until a final statement is developed. The donor and the Alumni Association Director sign copies of this final agreement and a copy is returned to the donor for his or her records. A brief statement is often incorporated into the criteria statement, describing the motivation of the donor in establishing the scholarship or recognizing the individual(s) in whose honor or memory the scholarship is being established.
How are the Scholarships Publicized?
Scholarship sponsors (unless not desired) are publicly recognized for their support of the college through local media and college publications. Announcements of new scholarships are included in Alumni publications to include newsletters, the annual USAO Magazine, the Homecoming program and the scholarship brochure. Scholarship information and applications will also appear on the USAO Alumni website.
Once the scholarship is established, the USAO Alumni Association requests a photo of the honored individual with a one-page biography to use for publication purposes.
How Can I Increase the Impact of My Gift?
Many companies match employee gifts up to a certain limit per year. You can ask your human resources department for information about your company's gift-matching policy. The USAO Alumni Office can provide assistance in this matter.