Steps to Establish a Scholarship

Within the boundaries of OSAC requirements, each scholarship at OSAC is unique and crafted specifically according to your goals and interests for students. OSAC currently administers nearly 500 privately funded scholarship programs, providing $16 million to over 3,000 students. For larger endowments, we partner with the Oregon Community Foundation to ensure that your contribution is working at its maximum earning potential to increase the life of the scholarship.

minimum award of $1,000 is required for OSAC to administer your donation.

  • To discuss the possibility of establishing a scholarship, please contact OSAC Donor Relations.
  • For a detailed discussion of the scholarship process, please read OSAC’s Scholarship Handbook.
Step 1. Select Type of Scholarship Program

OSAC administers several different types of programs on behalf of donors:

A.  Pass-Through Scholarships

OSAC sends an invoice to cover current-year awards and administrative charges. Donors confirm continued participation each year. Minimum award is $1,000.

B.  OSAC Trust Fund

An irrevocable trust fund in the donor’s name is established with the State of Oregon Treasury. The scholarship award and administrative charge is drawn from the trust and its interest earnings for the life of the scholarship. Minimum award is $1,000.

C.  Endowments: The Oregon Community Foundation Scholarships

OSAC administers more than 300 endowed pass-through scholarships in partnership with The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). Donors establishing scholarship programs with endowments of $50,000 or more work with OCF, where foundation staff develops donor fund agreements and set scholarship criteria. Ranked among the nation’s top community foundations, OCF has a long history of working with private individuals and groups to support Oregon education.

D.  Employer and Membership Scholarships

Employers, credit unions, electrical co-ops—any business, civic, or membership organization that wishes to support scholarships for its employees, employee dependents, or members of an organization may work with OSAC. Employer-sponsored programs are subject to IRS regulations and verification of the applicant pool.

Step 2. Establish Criteria

Your scholarship fund is created by you to name as you wish. Often, the scholarship can be named by the donor or your family. Whatever name you choose, the scholarship can reach the student(s) that you feel are most critical to reach.

You will participate in determining your scholarship criteria using a checklist of options available.

Criteria may include:

  • Graduates of a particular high school, undergraduate or graduate students
  • The type of college where the award may be used (public, private, nonprofit, for-profit)
  • In-state or anywhere in the United States
  • Whether or not financial need is considered
  • Cumulative GPA
  • College Major
  • Activities
  • Community Service

No programs may discriminate among applicants on the basis of race, gender, religious preference, or ethnic origin.

All OSAC scholarship recipients need a choice between a minimum of two institutions. Only institutions located in a state and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible to participate in federal Title IV student financial aid programs can be considered.

You can determine if a student must attend an Oregon institution or a college outside of Oregon. We can assist in researching eligible schools outside of Oregon.

Step 3. Create a Selection Committee and Review Applications

Your Selection Committee is hand-picked by you. The committee is typically comprised of volunteers (educators, donors, individuals with expertise or knowledge in a certain field) who bring their life experience, perspective and local knowledge to the selection process. The committee members use the specific scholarship criteria to award the scholarship, but they always need good judgment in assessing the character, motivation and potential of all applicants.

Selection Committees must:

  • Consist of at least three members
  • Avoid conflict of interest issues
  • Adhere to the federal regulations concerning donor involvement

After using its extensive database to match applicants to the scholarship criteria, screening all data and transcripts, OSAC will provide the Selection Committee with ranked lists of qualified applicants for the scholarship.

To see the elements involved in reviewing applications, please refer to the Scholarship Handbook.

Step 4. Award Scholarships

The hard work is done. Now it’s time to award the deserving student your committee selected to receive your scholarship. OSAC will contact the selected student by e-mail, ensure that the award is confirmed, and trigger notifications to the college financial aid offices to mandate that funds are used for educational purposes. OSAC will receive information from the student’s school, monitor the student’s progress and work directly with the financial aid offices regarding payment. OSAC will administer the program for the life of the scholarship and allow you to leave the paperwork, oversight and details to us.

Step 5. Submit Payment or Contribution for Your Newly Created Scholarship

Once your scholarship program is established and the Scholarship Program Agreement forms are signed and returned to OSAC, you will receive an invoice for a partial payment of your scholarship award. OSAC will send you an invoice for the balance owed prior to the fall term/semester disbursement of your award to the scholarship recipient’s college financial aid office.

With the exception of scholarship trust funds, you will be invoiced annually, thereafter, for the total award amount and the scholar services charge, prior to the fall term or semester. For trust funds, OSAC will withdraw the scholarship award and scholar services charge from the trust fund account and disburse to the award recipient’s college financial aid office prior to the fall term/semester.