The Need for Scholarships

    Academic scholarships are essential to the educational experience at Arkansas State University.

    To remain academically competitive and to enable many of our students to afford college, Arkansas State relies on philanthropic support from individuals and organizations to assist in providing scholarships to qualified students. 

     Investing in student scholarships is investing in the future of our state and our nation.

    Privately funded scholarships can assist in keeping many of our brightest students in Arkansas, as well as attract outstanding students from other areas. These scholarships can provide opportunities for students with limited resources. Privately funded scholarships are an excellent way to perpetually honor or memorialize alumni, professors, friends or family members. Finally, establishing an academic scholarship at Arkansas State University demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and the value of higher education.

    There are two basic types of academic scholarships at Arkansas State University. Endowed scholarships are excellent ways to ensure lasting gifts, and often are established as tributes or memorials. Annually funded scholarships are ideal for businesses, organizations and individuals who wish to include the scholarship amount in their annual budgets.

    Click on any of the links below for more information on specific topics:

Endowed Scholarships
Annually Funded Scholarships
Award Process

Scholarship Criteria

Selection of Recipients

Scholarship Fund Drives

Other Tributes or Memorial Contributions

Publicity

Request for Additional Information

Endowed Scholarships

    An endowment fund may be established in the donor's name or in memory of or as a tribute to a friend or relative. Endowed scholarships require a minimum gift of $10,000. Contributions to endowments may be made as a one-time payment or over a longer period, up to five years. Contributions are invested, and a portion of the investment income is used each year to fund a scholarship.

    Endowment accounts are allowed annually to spend up to 4.5 percent of their five-year average market value, thus providing a hedge against inflation. Any remaining income is reinvested to continue building the principal to ensure the endowment remains viable in the event of tuition increases or decreases in interest rates.

    Each endowment account is maintained separately, but such accounts may be pooled with other endowment funds for investment purposes to achieve a better rate of return. Investment income is then prorated back to individual accounts. Endowments currently are invested in diversified pool accounts within the Common Fund, a non-profit membership consortium devoted exclusively to providing public and private colleges, universities and independent schools with comprehensive, professional investment management services for their endowment and operating funds. The Common Fund today includes more than 1,300 member schools, representing the largest pool of educational endowment and operating funds in the world.

    While a fund is building toward endowment, investment income generally is applied toward reaching the endowment level, and no funds are awarded until the scholarship is fully endowed. The first scholarship is awarded one year from the date of full endowment to allow the fund to generate sufficient income. Until the endowment reaches the $10,000 level, the donor may wish to make an annual contribution to fund the award. NOTE: Depending on the donor's goals, it may be possible to work out a scholarship plan whereby a limited scholarship is awarded from a portion of the investment income, with the remaining income reinvested to continue building toward full endowment. Back to top.

Annually Funded Scholarships

    Annually funded scholarships generally are in the amount of in-state tuition. Such scholarships may be named according to the wishes of the donor. Scholarships for less than tuition may be named by the donor if the amount is at least $500 and a commitment is made to fund the award on an ongoing basis.

   A separate scholarship account will be established for each annually funded scholarship to be awarded on a recurring basis. Annual scholarship gifts that do not meet the above criteria will go into the General Scholarship Fund or any existing  scholarship fund specified by the donor.

   The full amount of the annual award is to be paid by March 1 of the year preceding the academic term in which the award is to be made. Following confirmation of available funds, recipients are selected each spring for awards during the following academic year. Back to top.

Award Process

    Scholarships are payable to recipients at the beginning of each semester. If a recipient fails to meet specified criteria or does not return to school, a new recipient may be selected or the remaining funds may be held in the scholarship account and applied toward the next year's award, at the discretion of the donor. Back to top.

Scholarship Criteria

    Donors may establish the criteria to be used in awarding scholarships. While it is best to keep criteria as broad as possible for sufficient flexibility, donors may have preferences in a number of areas. Such preferences will be honored, provided they do not conflict with university policies or state and federal laws and regulations.

    It is expected that scholarship recipients must be full-time students (enrolled in a minimum of 12 semester credit hours), and awards are for the fall and/or spring terms. Special exceptions may be requested by the donor at the time the scholarship is established to permit summer awards.

    Other criteria that donors may wish to consider when scholarships are established include:

    Major: Often donors wish to direct scholarships to students majoring in particular fields. This is especially true of businesses and organizations that use scholarships to encourage outstanding students to enter their professions.
    Academic Achievement: Requirements set in this area depend on how strongly donors wish to focus academic excellence. Most scholarships for entering freshmen require a specific ACT score or high school class standing. (The ACT is a nationally standardized test required of all entering freshmen.) For currently enrolled students, a grade point average may be required for most scholarship recipients. Donors may wish to specify other criteria provided they meet minimum requirements.
    Geographic Origin: Awards may be restricted to students from specific high schools, cities, counties, regions or states.
    Involvement: Evidence of school and community involvement and/or demonstration of leadership abilities may be a consideration for donors interested in identifying well-rounded recipients.
    Class Standings: Donors may wish to specify whether the scholarship should go to an incoming freshman or whether it should go to a currently enrolled or upper-level student. Donors with strong preferences regarding major field of study may prefer to limit the award to upper-level students to reduce the likelihood of recipients switching majors, and to ensure commitment to that field.
    Term of Award: Donors also must decide whether scholarships are to be one-year awards or whether awards may be continued through graduation, provided recipients remain eligible and continue to meet criteria.
    Need: Need is difficult to ascertain, since students with strong financial need are eligible for federal and other forms of financial assistance. In some situations, receipt of a scholarship would simply reduce the amount of federal money the student may qualify to receive. If need is to be considered, it is recommended that it not be the sole factor. Back to top.

Selection of Recipients

    Selection of scholarship recipients is made by appropriate Arkansas State University faculty-staff committees. If there are no limitations regarding major, selection is made by a university-wide scholarship committee. All committees base their selection on criteria established in advance by donors.

    In some cases, donors wish to become involved in the selection process. This may be possible to some extent, provided the majority of those involved in the selection are university representatives.

    NOTE: While there are many scholarships awarded by organizations to students attending ASU, some of these are given directly to the student, or the donors send the money to the university with instructions as to who is to receive it. While these scholarships are greatly needed and appreciated, they do not qualify as tax-deductible gifts to the university. To qualify as a gift, the university must have ultimate responsibility for the selection. In addition to protecting the charitable gift status of the scholarship, selection by the university removes the donor from any selection pressures and avoids related public relations problems. Back to top.

Scholarship Fund Drives

    Scholarship funds are often initiated in memory of or as a tribute to someone formerly affiliated with Arkansas State University or who is well-known by the Arkansas State University community. In such cases, University Development will assist in coordinating requests for contributions through the news media and/or other general information sources and publications.

   If alumni or members of the community are to be solicited directly (through such activities as mailings, telephone calls or personal visits), such appeals must be approved by University Development and coordinated with other fundraising efforts of Arkansas State University. (The cost of such appeals will be deducted from scholarship funds raised.) Back to top.

Other Tributes or Memorial Contributions

    In addition to individual scholarship funds established as tributes or memorials, gifts in honor of or in memory of an individual or group may be made to any existing scholarship fund or to the General Scholarship Fund. In all cases, Arkansas State University will send an acknowledgment card to the person or group being honored (or the family of the person being remembered). Tributes and memorial gifts should be made payable to the ASU Foundation, Inc., with the appropriate fund designated on the check or in an accompanying note, along with the name of the person/group being remembered. To ensure proper acknowledgment to any individuals who may not be known to the university, names and addresses of such persons should be included. Back to top.

Publicity

    Generally, the donor or a person of the donor's choosing is invited to be in photographs with the recipient of the first awarding of a scholarship.

   To ensure that eligible applicants are made aware of scholarship opportunities, information is provided to high school guidance counselors, prospective students, currently enrolled students, alumni and others.

   Donors are notified of the student selected, along with any other information requested. Back to top.

Request for Additional Information

   The above information reflects basic guidelines. Scholarship donors have very individual purposes, however, and no two scholarships are alike. Any special requirements should be discussed with University Development. For questions or more information on establishing a scholarship at Arkansas State University, click here. Or if you prefer, you may call us at (870) 972-3940, or toll-free outside the Jonesboro area at (888) 225-3843. Additionally, you may write our office at P.O. Box 1990, State University AR 72467-1990. To review our privacy policy, click here.                Back to top.

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