How to Endow a Scholarship

There may be contribution minimum requirements to set up a scholarship in your area. Here's what you need to know.

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Question: My family would like to establish an engineering scholarship in memory of my uncle. How do we set one up? - E.S., Green Bay, Wis.

Answer: You can set up a scholarship directly with a college or support local students through a community foundation (see www.cof.org/community-foundation-locator (opens in new tab) to find one in your area). You generally need to contribute at least $25,000 to $50,000 to set up an endowed scholarship, which will provide an award every year in the future. For example, you need to contribute at least $25,000 to endow a scholarship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which would pay out about $1,125 per year. Or you may be able to give a smaller amount and provide scholarships for a few years.

If you’re setting up a scholarship at a college, ask the development department how much of the criteria you can specify (such as reserving awards for engineering students).

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.