Continuing education after high school is quickly becoming something necessary and unavoidable. Even just a bachelor's degree is not enough, and many are looking to master's degrees and beyond. College tuition costs continue to rise year after year, with the average four-year degree from a private university costing over $100,000 and one from a public university costing nearly $33,000.
Using a fundraiser to build a scholarship fund is a great way to help lower out-of-pocket college expenses and decrease reliance on credit or high-interest loans.
Why Start a Scholarship?
Tuition costs rise every year. It's extremely difficult for students to work enough to pay for tuition and living expenses while carrying a full load of classes at the same time. Having scholarships to offset the cost of tuition as well as other expenses like books helps alleviate the financial burden for students. If you choose to start a scholarship for adults, this can be very helpful since going back to school is especially difficult once you've passed college age. Scholarships can assist those who dropped out or couldn't go to college after high school to overcome this hurdle and change their lives for the better.
Determine a Goal
Setting a fundraising goal is important in keeping you focused. The true cost of college is more than just tuition expense. You also have to factor in housing, cost of living, and various lab fees or other academic expenses associated with your coursework. Students may also need to invest in equipment such as a new laptop or tablet, as well as internet access to work on coursework when you're not on campus. You’ll need to decide which expenses you want your scholarship to cover, and then add up how much these expenses cost to determine a goal amount for your fundraiser.
Determine How Many Scholarships to Offer
The number of scholarships you'll want to offer will ultimately depend on the scholarship award amount, as well as how much money you have available to offer. Depending on the educational goals, you may want to consider offering different amounts for post-graduate degrees, which typically cost more, versus awards to those pursuing undergraduate degrees. You can also set up scholarships for those opting to attend a trade school. You can also opt to give out scholarships that cover specific items that students would normally have to pay for out of their own pockets, such as textbooks, lab fees, or computer equipment.
Choose Your Fundraiser
Before you start with any fundraiser, you'll want to check with your city and state guidelines to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for participation. Various fundraiser ideas include a spaghetti dinner, a silent auction, or selling products like chocolate. Whatever you choose, you can maximize your potential revenue by selecting something with broad appeal. Fundraisers like a silent auction require a lot of volunteer hours to get set up beforehand, whereas product fundraising require no up-front inventory. Most product sale fundraisers also have the convenience of providing you and your group with all the necessary materials to get started, including order forms and marketing materials. If your fundraiser is at a school, some companies also offer incentive programs for students to achieve a certain benchmark of sales.
Beginning a scholarship fund is a great way to help people pay for college. Having extra cash to offset expenses allows them to focus fully on studying to pay off any remaining tuition balances or student loans. Setting up your fundraiser for the widest participation is the key to success. While silent auctions and ticketed dinners are one great way to start, you should also look into raising money with chocolate, which require no up-front inventory or financial investment.