Scholarship Amount Strategy
Keeping Pace with College Costs
The Board of Directors prepared this summary for our website to share our history and strategy relative to the scholarship amounts. Over the years, we have periodically increased the value of the scholarships. The reason for each increase has been to keep pace with rising college costs.
When the Board of Directors launched the Mel Douglass Fund in 2008, we set the scholarship amounts at $4,000 (delivered in four equal payments at one year intervals assuming academic progress) for the Mel Douglass Scholarship and one-time payments of $500 for the Honorable Mention Scholarships. Each year, we award the Mel Douglass Scholarship to one student and also typically award Honorable Mention Scholarships to several other outstanding candidates.
After operating for several years with those scholarship amounts, we began to consider increases. In 2013, we increased the value of the Mel Douglass Scholarship to $6,000 and held the Honorable Mention Scholarship at $500. In 2017, we raised those amounts to $8,000 and $1,000 respectively. The strategy for those increases was simply to address rising college costs. Thankfully, the generosity of our donors gave us the financial capability to deliver the increases.
As we made those increases, we continued to monitor data on college costs. We realized that, although we had periodically increased the value of the scholarships, our changes were not keeping pace with rising college costs as closely as we had intended. In 2018 we reached consensus on a strategy to target the value of the Mel Douglass Scholarship at approximately 10% of the cost of four years of college. We define college costs as tuition and required fees plus room and board at public four year institutions and we use data published by the College Board.
The reason for the 10% target is to strike a balance between enough and perhaps too much. Since the scholarships are for volunteer community service, we want the amount to be enough to truly help the winners with college expenses but not so much that it makes volunteering the primary way to pay for college. In other words, we want to recognize and reward students for their outstanding service but not pay them unreasonably large amounts to volunteer.
We applied the 10% strategy to increase the 2019 Mel Douglass Scholarship amount to $10,000. We also decided to hold the one-time Honorable Mention Scholarships at $1,000. We are pleased that our strategy for increasing the scholarship amounts is now linked to actual market data. Moving forward we will continue to monitor the College Board data and adjust the Mel Douglass Scholarship amount as necessary to align with our 10% strategy, assuming we have the resources to do so. In addition, we will periodically adjust the Honorable Mention Scholarship amount as appropriate. Our 10% strategy is subject to change. Each December, we review the strategy in light of relevant factors, such as our asset base and market data, and make changes as necessary.