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California State University, Long Beach
Center for Scholarship Information
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The Scholarship Selection Committee

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding scholarship selection committees:

What is the goal of the committee?

In light of our litigious society, and for purposes of being fair, objectivity is the goal of an efficient scholarship selection committee. The following quote captures the purpose of the scholarship selection committee: "To make an objective assessment of each candidate measured against the guidelines of the scholarship and the intent of the donor, within the framework of current state and federal laws."

What is the optimum number that should constitute a committee?

Committee membership is best at three or more individuals, provided the number does not become unwieldy. Odd numbers should be utilized to prevent a deadlock in the making decisions.

Is it legal to allow a donor to choose the recipient?

According to the IRS, if a donor is allowed to pick the recipient, the scholarship money donated to the University is not recognized as a tax-deductible gift. It has just become a present given from one individual to another.

May a donor sit on the committee?

A donor may participate in the selection of a recipient, with some stipulations:

  • As long as the donor refrains from exerting undue influence or applying pressure on the other members during the selection process, and
  • As long as the donor is informed, in writing, that sitting on the selection committee means that all members have an EQUAL voice in the decision-making, thus the potential to be outvoted.

Most donors will understand the legal ramifications, and/or tax liability, involved and cooperate. Use sound judgment in this area so that your relationship with the donor remains free from complication.

Can I send a batch of student applications to an off-site committee, or individual who wishes to award a private scholarship?

Yes and no. You may only do so if you have signed consent from each student prior to sending the applications off-site. For further information, review the Buckley Amendment.