Creating A Scholarship Fund - Frequently Asked Questions

How do PPS high school students usually learn that they may qualify for a scholarship?

Our scholarship application process opens on November 1st each year, so starting mid-October we’ll contact the counselors at each high school to let them know which scholarships are available from the PPS Foundation and ask them to encourage students who fit the criteria to apply. These scholarships are then included on their school scholarship website. Throughout the scholarship season we periodically ask the PPS high school principals to include the PPS Foundation scholarships information on the weekly Sunday phone call/e-mail, which is great advertisement since this goes directly to parents too. Our PPS high schools definitely do a great job helping us promoting the scholarships we have available.

If the PPSF administers a scholarship we set up, does that eliminate involvement on our part?

As long as we have a detailed scholarship agreement, we can set up the scholarship application how you would like, chose the members of the evaluation committee, then just report out to you when we select a recipient. If you’d like to be more involved, we can have you and your group be a part of the scholarship committee and help evaluate the applications to choose a recipient. We would just need to make sure there are no conflict of interest of any group members if they would like to be on the evaluation committee (they might know an applicant or their family, etc).

Typically, we do ask that the group setting up the scholarship raises the funds for the award. We can help by creating an online donation link and sharing the fundraising effort on our website, social media, newsletter, etc. However, we do need the amount that the recipient is awarded raised by May 1st of the year that you are offering the scholarship. If you fundraise an amount over $10,000, we can also help invest those funds at the Community Foundation of Central Illinois if you would like.

Is setting up a scholarship as simple as sending PPSF a check and a statement of our scholarship's criteria?

Yes! We actually don’t need the check right away as long as we have an understanding that your group will be fundraising, and we will have the award funds available by May 1st of the year that the recipient is selected. Besides that, here is the criteria that is needed to start a scholarship agreement:

  • Official Scholarship Name
  • Background of the Scholarship
  • Award amount - we can always adjust the amount after the fundraising is completed
  • Criteria/Eligibility to apply - certain GPA, involved in a certain sport, club, etc.
  • How will the scholarship recipient be selected? - for most of our scholarships, students submit an online application with essay questions and then are evaluated by evaluators chosen by the PPS Foundation but we can be flexible with the format.  Examples of previous applications and agreements are available for reference, just let us know if you’d like to see them.  If you’d like to follow our typical format:
    • What sections should be included on the online application besides essay questions? - examples include GPA (do we need transcripts?), financial need, volunteer activities, work experience
    • What essay questions would you like the applicants to answer? - we recommend 1 to 3 essay questions
    • Are you OK with rating each section of the application on a scale of 1-10 to determine an overall score for the applicants? - for example, there are 50 points total on an application from 5 different sections (such as academics, extra-curricular activities, 3 essay questions).  Again, we can be flexible with this and can provide examples of what other scholarships look like.
    • Do you have certain members of community that you would like to be on the evaluation committee or can the PPS Foundation select the committee for you?

What accountability does the PPSF give to the donors?

We will update the scholarship committee group as much as you’d like (on a weekly/monthly basis or when you hit a certain threshold). Just let us know! We keep very detailed accounting records that include the donor’s name, address, date and type of donation. We ensure that these funds will be restricted for the scholarship that you are raising money for. We will also send out donation receipts to all donors and let you know their address if you’d like to send an additional thank you card.

If we want to endow a $1000 a year scholarship, how much money do we need to raise?

If you’d like to endow a scholarship, we would have you work with the Community Foundation of Central Illinois (CFCI) to invest those funds. The PPS Foundation can still administer the scholarship, but the funds would be held at CFCI. For a $1,000 scholarship award, they need at least $20,000 invested and they typically do not recommended giving out an award for at least one year to allow the funds to grow. We can get you in touch with staff members at CFCI to provide more information on this.

If we raise less, say $5,000, can PPSF allocate funds at $1000 a year for 5 years? If we raise only $1000 can we do it as a one time scholarship only?

Whatever you'd like! Holding your funds at the PPS Foundation will provide you with flexibility. We can give out a one-time scholarship award or $1,000 each year for 5 years.

If we can offer a scholarship for a few years, would our class be added to the Scholarship Description List?

Yes, we update that document each year so we would definitely add your scholarship to the list for the year that it is offered.

 

We hope this has been helpful. Feel free to reach out to Jen Adler at jennifer.adler@psd150.org with any additional questions you may have or to start the process of creating a scholarship with the PPS Foundation.