Q&A - July 21, 2017

Establishing a scholarship fund is a common charitable goal for many individuals and organizations. It’s a wonderful way for donors to support education, strengthen their community, or to invest in deserving students. Many generous and kindhearted people establish scholarships as a way to give back to society or to show their appreciation for their own education. Like many of you, I received scholarships that helped me pay for my college education, and I am grateful. So this week, I would like to reflect on the merits of creating a scholarship.

Q:I’ve been thinking about offering a scholarship for local youth to attend college, but I really don’t know much about it.

Most people already have a vague idea about what a scholarship is—money that someone gives you to pay for school. That's actually pretty close. Basically, a scholarship is a sum of money awarded to a student in order to help that student further his or her education. Unlike a school loan which accrues interest, scholarships are gifts that don't need to be paid back by the student. Scholarships are a wonderful way to support promising and deserving students by assisting them with the costs of their education.

Scholarship money can come from any number of sources. There are scholarships provided by governments, corporations, universities or any organization with a little goodwill and some money to offer. Many scholarships come from stipulations in the wills of charitable-minded individuals who want to give back to their alma mater or to assist the next generation of students.

I’ve been privileged to meet with many persons who have established scholarships for college students, and I’ve always been humbled by their personal stories and their generosity. I’ve been deeply touched by those who have set up memorial scholarships in the name of a deceased friend or family member. I’ve marveled at the prudence of business owners who have created scholarships to help ensure a skilled workforce. I’ve been inspired by persons who simply wanted to help someone else go to college, like they themselves were helped. Scholarship donors have many different reasons why they give, but they are all amazing people.

It’s an unfortunate fact that every year, many students find it difficult to afford college, and others, who lack the financial means, find it impossible. Scholarships are oftentimes the “game changer” for a student in need. A scholarship can literally be the difference between someone going to college or not going to college—achieving their dream or not achieving their dream. By establishing a scholarship, your gift can make a big difference.

If you would like to learn more about giving opportunities and campus priorities at OSUIT, please visit our osuit.edu/giving website. If you would like to establish a scholarship to help students attend OSUIT, Glenn Zannotti, associate director of development with the Oklahoma State University Foundation can assist you. He can tell you about all the different types of scholarships and explain how to set them up. Glenn can be reached at (918) 606-8313.

Please continue to submit your questions and comments. They are accepted at osuit-president@okstate.edu