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Handling of 3rd party scholarships

  • 1.  Handling of 3rd party scholarships

    Posted 08-29-2022 05:51 PM
    Good afternoon -

    We recently learned that scholarship funding that we accepted as charitable contributions, were, in fact, not charitable as the funders actually selected the students (despite award letters stating that it was an unrestricted scholarship award). We are currently working on guidelines around these 3rd party scholarships to ensure they are accepted through the right channels while helping donor stewardship to capture the engagement piece of these relationships. 

    My question to the community:
    • how are you handling these type of 3rd party scholarships (aka grantor is selecting students and then paying a certain amount towards their education, often requiring that the funds go through the student's university.)
    • How are you handling stewardship/engagement for these organizations, especially if they also provide charitable funding and support to the university?
    Any tips, insight, literature etc. that you can recommend to take into consideration while we draw up guidelines to accepting these types of scholarship awards are greatly appreciated.

    Warm regards,

    Saskia Sawyer
    Assistant Vice President, Gift Services
    University of Colorado Foundation

  • 2.  RE: Handling of 3rd party scholarships

    Posted 08-29-2022 06:13 PM
    Most organizations require these payments to go directly to the Office of Financial Aid.  That office is responsible for properly crediting the student account.  Further, they must account for all external funding - including gifts-in-kind - as the value of that funding directly impacts the student's ability to qualify for traditional scholarships.

    These are not charitable donations.  In many cases, the third party is being "used" as a passthrough for a parent or relative (I have seen this a ton).  I would not attempt to track these direct payments as philanthropy nor record them in the Advancement CRM.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 3.  RE: Handling of 3rd party scholarships

    Posted 09-02-2022 11:50 AM

    Thank you, John, as always. May I ask you if there are any whitepapers or, the greater community, any policies, guidelines etc. on how to handle these?


    Happy long weekend everyone!



    Saskia Sawyer

    Working remote Mondays & Fridays

    t 303.813.7934 | c 303-507.8251


    *** The CU Foundation values and respects flexible work arrangements, so please do not feel obligated to respond to this email outside of your normal working hours ***


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