Endowments are complex and often difficult to explain. However, if you earn yourself an individual endowment you should know where this money is coming from. Without getting into to much detail, endowment funds are provided largley by outside donors who are mostly alumni of that particular college or university. When a donor supplies an institution with a dollar amount in the form of endowment money, it is placed into that school’s endowment fund where the money is pooled together and invested.
Many schools across the country have their endowment money invested in numerous funds and it acts as a major source of revenue for the college. At many schools, it is the largest source of income they have, even higher than student tuition! The idea is to use these funds as a permanent source of income for the university to fund such things as Teaching, Research and Innovation, Athletics and (good news for you) Student Financial Aid.
One thing that the donor’s of these individual endowments have control of is where their money goes and what it is used for. Many donors want the money to be used to aid prospective students in paying their college tuition. These funds are “reserved” for lower income students and offers them an opportunity at that college that they would otherwise not have. Other individual endowments are for students who are looking to attend that specific institution, but have other admission offers that would require less tuition money to attend. In that case, the endowment would offset the cost of tuition making that higher-priced institution very comparable to the “cheaper” schools with regard to overall tuition costs.
Do I qualify for an Endowment?
Getting an individual endowment is up to the school that you apply to. Every college is different with regard to their endowment money, and every college has a different sized budget. For instance, a school like Harvard College probably receives a very healthy endowment from their alumni. When compared to other colleges, Harvard has much more to give out than a state school such as The University of Virginia.
The college that you gain acceptance to will tell you whether or not you qualify for an endowment, so cross your fingers! In the meantime, set up a free account at FastWeb for access to thousands of scholarship opportunities.