Funding for need-based scholarships varies from state to state. The state of California, for example, has a need-based scholarship expenditure of over $1.8 billion, while New Hampshire and Georgia have spent $0 on these types of scholarships since 2012.
Houston (and the state of Texas) has hundreds of scholarships available to students – you can find a comprehensive list of these Houston scholarships here. These consist of both federal and state-level scholarship programs. In addition to the hundreds of individual scholarships, Texas also has other types of financial aid available to students including:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- TEACH Grant
- Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant
- TEXAS Grant
- Texas State Tuition Grant
- Texas Public Educational Grant.
Additionally, many universities have their own scholarship programs. For instance, Texas State University awards over $370 million in financial aid and scholarships to its students. Similarly, South Texas College of Law Houston provided more than $4,000,000 in scholarships, grants, and awards to 88% of the student body during the 2018-2019 academic year. While the availability of scholarships is great news for students in Texas, it’s important to look at the full picture.
The cost of attendance at the three accredited law schools in Houston, Texas is between $43,096 and $60,200 per year. If a student decides to continue with a graduate law degree, they can expect their student debt to balloon up to $118,400. This is partly because the average law school debt has increased 4 times faster than the rate of inflation.
How to Launch a Digital Scholarship in Houston
For scholarship programs that are already going completely digital (or paperless) is painless and quick. We’ve covered the process in a previous guide but in essence, the fastest way to digitize your existing scholarship fund is to work with a scholarship management software.
Related: How to Launch a Fully Digital Scholarship in 5 Steps
On the other hand, if you’re starting from scratch, creating a digital scholarship is similar to starting a traditional scholarship. Various universities and colleges in Houston offer a variety of scholarship programs that enable donors to simply fill out a form and provide payment in order to get their scholarship registered with the university board. For instance, the University of Houston Law Center has opportunities available for donors to establish a named annual scholarship, endowed scholarship, or contribute to the general “scholarship and awards” fund.
Additionally, there are numerous foundations established to help donors launch independent scholarships, including the Communities Foundation of Texas.
However, regardless of the method, donors still need to keep in mind the following things while launching a digital scholarship:
1. Determine the Purpose of Your Scholarship
Be clear on the purpose of your scholarship. The purpose of the scholarship will impact how you set up and administer the scholarship fund, so you need to be clear on the why.
2. Identify Who You’d Like to Help and How
Identify the ideal recipient of the digital scholarship, As you may imagine, scholarships aren’t evenly created and distributed for all demographics (based on the area of study, age, sex, race, etc). We recommend reviewing this comprehensive list of scholarships currently available in Houston to identify scholarships for your target recipient.
3. Set a Timeline
There is a lot involved in publishing a scholarship in Houston and reviewers in most scholarship programs typically run behind schedule. To avoid this, set a timeline that includes time to plan, fundraise, set up a scholarship committee, evaluate the applications, and so on.
The typical application cycle for scholarships looks like this:
- March and April: Application deadlines close
- June and July: Ideal time to complete application review cycle and pick a winner
- August: Latest time to pick a winner
If your goal is to award the scholarship by July, it is advised that you start planning anywhere from 9-12 months in advance.
4. Select the Scholarship Committee
Scholarship committees should consist of people who are fair and impartial. This is especially important as it is a requirement by the IRS for donors who want to pursue the tax benefits for making contributions.
5. Choose the Scholarship Administration Method
A properly marketed scholarship is likely to receive hundreds or thousands of applications. Choose a scholarship administration method that is cost-effective and efficient. Many scholarship management platforms offer services that include:
- Design and administration of the scholarship
- First level selection
- Scholarship advisory
- Fund disbursement, and much more.
Scholarship administration platforms are invaluable for lowering the costs of advertising/promotion, administration, and management overhead. Another option is to appoint a scholarship administrator or to set up a board to oversee the entire process. Each comes at a cost, so weigh them properly.
Related: Getting More Qualified Applicants for Your Digital Scholarship
Becoming Digital with Scholar’s App
The ever-increasing cost of higher education is no longer a surprise to the American public. Rather, large college debt is a foregone conclusion for students who seek to pursue their career aspirations by getting a degree. On average, graduates from four-year colleges have around $37,584 in debt by the time they finish.
Thankfully, helping students through the provision of scholarships has never been easier (and more needed) than it is today – especially with Scholar’s App.
Scholar’s App is an all-in-one platform for providing and managing scholarships. Scholarship funds and individual donors using Scholar’s App receive 2x the amount of qualified and completed applications than they did before, at much lower costs, thanks to an intuitive user interface that makes it easier for students to find the right scholarship.
Easily post your scholarship listing, and let Scholar’s App create a customized application form. Using the specified criteria, we only display your listing to qualified candidates who can then apply online.
Scholar’s App markets to tens of thousands of students and counselors, who are verified before they can join our network. We handle both digital and traditional marketing campaigns for your scholarship.
Scholar’s App uses a comprehensive system to match scholarships with qualified students. We also ensure applications are submitted with essays, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other documents that may be part of your particular application process.
Collaborate with Your Review Committee Online
Scholar’s App offers a central dashboard where donors and reviewers can conduct the scoring process together