Giving back to your community by offering scholarships and helping budding minds reach their full potential is one of the best endeavors you can take on as an organization.

However fulfilling, you could potentially be inundated with hundreds if not, thousands of applications. Can you imagine how daunting and time-consuming looking through them would be? Fortunately, you can count on scholarship management software to get the job in less than half time with minimal effort.

Before even considering accepting applications, setting up scholarship criteria is an important step to ensure your financial assistance is reaching the most deserving recipients.

Here are some points worth considering:

Why establish scholarship criteria?

Getting bogged down with too many unqualified applications can be frustrating. Establishing clear criteria upfront will enable your team to quickly and confidently sift through these applications, and most importantly select the best candidates.

GPA and Academic Standing

A student’s GPA is a regularly assessed criterion and it should be strong and consistent. The majority of scholarships require at least a 3.0 or even a 3.5. If the award is a renewable amount that’s paid out annually, as opposed to a one-time award, you could require that the student maintain a certain GPA annually while or risk forfeiting any future funds. This requirement could also provide a continuing source of motivation for the student when school is challenging.

Field of Study

Include this as a criterion if you want to encourage potential awardees to enter a certain field of study. This could be beneficial when you experience a human resources deficit you need to fulfill later down the line. Promoting particular interests for the good of your industry as a whole is another reason you should consider including this.

Financial Need

Probably the most common reason why students seek assistance,  you may want to help promising students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college because of its growing costs. Requiring that the income of applicants’ families falls below a certain amount is a common guideline that’s easy to verify via tax documents, payroll stubs, and the like.


Demographic restrictions are often used when creating an applicant pool. This is helpful for leveling the playing field to give marginalized individuals similar opportunities. This can be based on the demographics of your employees, institution, or community.

Geographic Limitations

Geographic boundaries are another popular criteria choice. After all, if you’re looking to possibly hire the student once they graduate, it does no good if they’re allowed to use your funds to attend a college far away, where they will establish networks and possibly find a local job after taking their degree. Establishing this sort of requirement also allows you to serve a specific community, most likely a geographic region your organization serves.

Current Employees

You might restrict applicants to immediate family members of current employees. This can be an excellent perk for employees with kids who are nearing college age. Be careful not to place restrictions that are too stringent, however, or you may not find applicants at all. On the other hand, you may wish to limit applications to students with no familial association to your current employees, to ensure the appearance of fairness and equity.

These are but a few of the many potential guidelines you can choose when setting up a scholarship. From scholastic achievements to fields of interest, the scholarship criteria you choose are all up to you.

Discover how we can help your organization get the best return on your scholarship application process.

Create a smooth-running process with Scholars United, a platform to help universities, colleges, and corporations manage their entire scholarship application lifecycle in one centralized solution:

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Nominate Students 

Advisors, high-school guidance counselors, department heads, academic college leaders, and/or community organizations have the flexibility to nominate applicants to receive scholarships.

Flexible Scholarship Matches 

With our “One-Click Apply” option, students can apply for all available scholarships in just a few seconds.

Match Applicants To Funds 

Scholars United automatically matches all the applicants who qualify. Easily set up a scoring rubric and have the system create a pre-sorted list of applicants based on the highest relevance to the fund’s criteria and find the most qualified applicants.

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Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading corporation, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online scholarship management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact.