Starting a memorial scholarship fund to honor a family member or mentor is an impactful way to leave a lasting legacy. While nothing can erase the grief of losing a loved one, channeling that heartbreak into something positive can help transform those feelings of loss into something productive and beneficial.

If you’re wondering how to start a memorial scholarship fund but don’t know where to start, Scholar’s App is here to help. Follow these steps and then see how you can benefit from our easy-to-use scholarship management service. 

How To Set Up a Memorial Scholarship Fund

Step #1: Who Do You Want To Help?

Tailor the scholarship to fit your loved one’s personality, hobbies, or interests. Then translate that into a scholarship for students in a specific field of study, location, educational level, or with specific interests. 

For example, if your recently deceased mentor valued their work in journalism, set up a fund for students interested in studying in that field. If your loved one always gave back to the community, perhaps a community-service-oriented scholarship offered to local undergrads would be a good option.

Step #2: How Will You Get Funding?

Where will you get the money for your memorial scholarship fund? This can come down to inheritance money, donations, or fundraising.

Once that’s settled, plan:

  • The total award amount
  • The total number of scholarship recipients per scholarship cycle
  • When to distribute funds (yearly, by semester, or in one lump sum)
  • Frequency (Will the scholarship be offered yearly? Every other year? Once?) 

Step #3: What About the Details?

This includes determining the specific requirements for applicants and winners, but you’ll also need to consider behind-the-scenes management and operational tasks.

  • Decide on a scholarship name
  • Choose applicant eligibility requirements (minimum education level, QPA, location, extracurriculars) 
  • Agree on the ideal criteria for your scholarship winner(s)
  • Decide what documentation applicants will need to provide (transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, personal essay)
  • Decide where scholarship applicants must apply (Do you need to create a website? Is it easier to use a scholarship management service like Scholar’s App? Or both?)
  • Determine who will manage the scholarship program (Who will answer parent/student questions? Who evaluates the applicants and determines the winner? Who manages funds?)
  • Choose application deadlines and when award recipients will be announced

How Soon Will It Be Up and Running?

This depends on you. Getting a memorial scholarship fund up and running can take somewhere from a few weeks to a few months.

What affects your timeline includes how quickly:

● Funds can be raised

● Criteria and eligibility requirements are planned

● Website or scholarship management services are ready to go

● The time of year (Is it ready for a given scholarship cycle?)

How Much Does It Cost To Offer a Memorial Scholarship?

Again, this varies. Some costs to consider are whether you’re paying someone to manage the scholarship, the scholarship award amount, and any third-party scholarship management services (in addition to your team). 

Is There an Easier Way To Manage a Memorial Scholarship?

Yes, there is. There are plenty of scholarship management programs that can help simplify the process. These programs will help collect and vet applications, so you know you’re getting the most qualified candidates. 

Scholarship management services like ours also help raise awareness about your memorial scholarship, in conjunction with your own scholarship website (if you have one). In fact, Scholar’s App donors typically see double the number of applicants and 75% more completed applications.


Starting a memorial scholarship doesn’t have to be complicated. And if it’s someone’s life that you want to honor, there’s no better way than allowing their life to be a part of someone else’s path to higher education. 

Getting started today with services like Scholar’s App can help you cement that legacy and turn your loss into a brighter future for a student in need.

More Posts You May Find Interesting