Fund a Future

Scholarships are among the most rewarding ways to give to Sacramento State because of the nearly immediate impact they can make on students’ lives.

As funding for education becomes increasingly unpredictable, more and more students depend on scholarships to pursue their dreams of a college education. Most work at least part-time, many have family obligations, and all feel the pinch from rising prices for living expenses. A scholarship can make the difference that keeps them on track to a degree.

Establishing, contributing to or endowing a scholarship helps ensure that Sacramento State remains affordable and accessible. It also provides opportunities to recognize and motivate our best and brightest students.

Scholarships can be created by an individual, a group or an organization through tax-deductible donations. Donors can choose to provide non-endowed scholarships, memorial scholarships or endowed scholarships. Endowed scholarships are particularly valuable to the University because they provide perpetual source of scholarship income.

For more information on scholarships at Sacramento State, please contact:

Jackie Morris-Henderson
Scholarship Fund Steward
(916) 278-6931

students in classScholarships help students concentrate on their studies and stay on the path to graduation.

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The Scholarship Process

Establishing or donating to a scholarship is simple. We can help you:

  • Decide whether to create a new scholarship, give to an existing scholarship or establish an endowment
  • Identify the amount required to support the award
  • Set up the scholarship account
  • Report to you on the scholarship’s annual activity

The scholarship awards cycle typically begins in the spring semester, with students applying for scholarships for the following academic year. Ideally, terms and funding for a scholarship should be in place no later than Dec. 31.

Scholarships may be designated to a particular major, field of study, or specific program. Or they may be unrestricted. Eligibility may also be based on class year and GPA and whether the student has financial need. It is best to keep eligibility as broad and flexible as possible to ensure that the scholarship will be awarded.

Under IRS regulations, donors may not select scholarship recipients. In some instances, donors may serve on scholarship selection committees so long as there are at least two other University representatives. California law stipulates that Sacramento State may not accept terms that give preferential consideration based on race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual

Types of Scholarships
Scholarships can be established by an individual, a group or an organization through tax-deductible gifts to The University Foundation at Sacramento State, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves as Sacramento State’s philanthropic auxiliary.

Non-endowed Scholarship
A scholarship can be given on a “one-time only” basis or on an ongoing basis through an annual donation. Book scholarships, to help students cover expenses for textbooks and school supplies, may be established at a minimum level of $500. The recommended minimum for a scholarship that pays for fees is $1,000.

Endowed Scholarship
Donors may establish a new endowed scholarship with a gift of $10,000 or more. An endowed fund provides Sacramento State with an annual income stream to be spent for the fund’s designated purpose, while the principal of the fund remains intact. A portion of the fund’s income is reinvested to preserve the value of the fund over time.

Memorial Scholarship
Families may choose to suggest in an obituary that donations be sent to The University Foundation at Sacramento State for a scholarship in memory of a loved one. The Development Office will work with the family to write a formal gift memorandum—the document that legally establishes the fund—and establish a pending memorial gift account in the name of the deceased. Upon receipt of the memorial gifts, the Development Office will report the names and addresses of all donors to a designated family member or friend. When the stream of gifts has slowed, the Development Office will help the family choose the fund’s designation based on the amount in the fund. Memorial scholarships also can be endowed if the minimum of $10,000 has been achieved.

Giving in action:

Jordan Holmes and Austin Smith

Honors Program participants Jordan Holmes (left) and Austin Smith credit scholarships with making their educations possible. 

Scholarships ensure students receive honors experience

Mix the qualities of a liberal arts college experience—small classes, a built-in sense of community—with the amenities of a large metropolitan university and you get Sac State’s Honors Program.

For nearly 10 years, the general education program has offered a specialized curriculum that features intimate seminar-style classes and focuses on topics like great books or solving global problems. More than 300 students have also benefitted from the camaraderie and sense of family that comes from social activities and their own honors lounge that services as a home on campus.

But like their peers campuswide, it’s not always easy to pay for their educations.

Austin Smith knew he wanted to come to Sac State as soon as he saw it. He credits a scholarship with making his wish a reality.

“It changed my life,” he says. “If it weren’t for my scholarship, I wouldn’t be here.”

The freshman is the recipient of the Stremple Math/Science Scholarship, which provides a full-ride scholarship to a student in the Honors Program. He credits Honors Program director Lee Simpson with helping him secure it.

“People in the program worked hard to help me,” says the math major, who hopes to one day work at NASA.

The rigors of the Honors curriculum—which includes a heavy reading and writing load—can present challenges for students to stay on track. A desire to make the effort less difficult motivated David Schwartz, owner of Advanced Business Integrators, Inc., and his wife Patricia ’80 (Nursing) to start the David and Patricia Schwartz Scholarship.

“You want to do what you can for a great program,” Schwartz says. “The kids are outstanding and we wanted to make it easier for them,” he adds. “It’s tough enough without them having to worry about funding their educations.”

Jordan Holmes was the first recipient of the Schwartz scholarship, which offers students $2,500 a year for four years. She will be graduating in the fall—a semester early—with a degree in English and says the scholarship was both a help and a motivator.

“A lot happens over the course of a college career,” she says. “Without the scholarship. I don’t know where I’d be.”

Holmes took full advantage of the Honors Program, serving as a peer mentor for incoming honors students and making lifelong friends. She also worked as an orientation leader and is considering a career in student services. And along the way, her scholarship was essential to her success.

“It was good to have the scholarship to keep me moving every semester,” Holmes says. “It definitely is what’s getting me through to graduation.”

“Without the scholarship, I don't know where I'd be.”
—Austin Smith, Math major

Schwartz says he started the scholarship after noticing the quality interns his business was securing through the Honors Program. He also had a revelatory meeting with Honors Program advisory board member David Bugatto ’86 (Business Administration) and the program’s first director, emeritus professor Roberto Pomo.

“I saw how the students reacted to Roberto,” he says. “I thought ‘This is what happens when you have this kind of experience.’”

Simpson says Pomo’s influence remains strong among the program’s alumni as well. A scholarship in his name is the focus of a fundraising campaign by the Honors Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association with the hope of eventually endowing it.

As the Honors Program celebrates its 10th anniversary, that support is also a reflection of what the program has meant to students over the years.

“The program has a ‘we’ feeling. They feel anchored here,” Simpson says. “They’ve had a good experience and want to pay it forward.”

More than 70 percent of Sacramento State's students have some type of financial aid. Support a scholarship—or create your own. Contact Jackie Morris-Henderson at (916) 278-6931. 

Return to Student Support and Scholarships