September 5, 2022

A scholarship isn’t just a generous gesture. For many, it may be the only opportunity to afford higher education and change the trajectory of their lives. If you were a fortunate scholar during your days in Aggieland, you may wonder how you can make your dream of paying back your scholarship to a future Aggie a reality. While you will need to make some important decisions, the process of creating an impactful scholarship is easy and very rewarding—and our team is here to assist! Follow our step-by-step guide below to learn how you can help future members of your Aggie family chase their dreams.

Your Six-Step Scholarship Guide

1. Consider your lifestyle and financial goals.

There are two main ways to fund scholarships: current or planned gifts. If you have the assets to fund a scholarship today, you can make a gift with a lump sum, or spread it out over the course of five-year payments. Many employers also have matching programs that you can use to double your impact. For example, five years of $2,500 annual payments with your employer’s match would allow you to create an endowed scholarship (for select scholarships) at $25,000. That means at a cost of only $12,500, your scholarship could support Aggies forever.

If you don’t have the assets to give today, don’t sweat it! Planned gifts, or gifts funded with after-lifetime assets such as gifts in wills or IRA beneficiary designations, offer an ideal way for Aggies of all means to make a significant future impact with assets they no longer need. The great news: Most planned giving methods are revocable, which means you can update your gift if your lifestyle changes. Plus, planned giving methods offer significant advantages like tax benefits and annual payments to you and your loved ones.

Our advice: Start the conversation with your trusted financial advisor. Once you determine whether you want to go the current or planned giving route, loop our team in so our professionals can work with you to decide the best giving method and payment structure to fit your goals.

2. Select your scholarship.

What do you want your scholarship to achieve? Who do you want it to help? Many supporters come to us with a very specific scholarship impact in mind, while others just want to know that their gift is helping any Aggie in need. There’s no right or wrong answer—your scholarship is up to you!

The Texas A&M Foundation manages three main scholarships: the Endowed Opportunity Award (EOA), the Foundation Excellence Award (FEA) and the President’s Endowed Scholarship (PES). Read more below to identify which best aligns with your impact goals. And keep in mind: You can customize these scholarships to support a specific type of student pursuing a degree in your desired area. Want to support students from Tarrant County, Texas, pursuing degrees in chemical engineering? We’re happy to help you find a deserving student. If you’d like to be even more specific in who receives your award—maybe you want to support a certain minority group or you only want to reward high-achieving students based on merit, we have a scholarship to fit your needs.

EOA – This scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen who have exhibited a high degree of character, extracurricular involvement, leadership ability and, in most cases, evidence of financial need. A $25,000 gift will permanently endow an award to provide one student an annual stipend for four years.

FEA – FEAs help recruit and retain outstanding undergraduates from historically disadvantaged groups often underserved in the Aggie student body, including minorities and those who face significant economic or educational hurdles. In 2020, the program was expanded to include students attending the Texas A&M-Galveston campus. A $10,000 gift will fund a one-time, four-year award for one student, while a $50,000 gift will permanently endow an award to provide one student an annual stipend for four years.

PES – As the Foundation’s oldest scholarship, the PES rewards incoming Texas A&M freshmen who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements in high school. Financial information is not considered. A $100,000 gift will permanently endow a PES to provide one student an annual stipend for four years.

*There are countless other scholarships awarded through Texas A&M’s individual colleges and departments. While the Foundation coordinates the giving process for these, the rules for each scholarship and the recipient selection process are managed by the college or department in which the scholarship is housed.

3. Make your commitment official.

By investing in a scholarship, you are making a commitment to invest in the future of Aggieland. It only seems fitting that we make a commitment to you by documenting your desires and helping them come to fruition. We do this with a written document called a “gift agreement.” This document is a snapshot of your gift: what you agree to support, the fund name, the amount and agreed payment plan, and any additional preferences agreed upon by you and the team awarding your scholarship.

This process is a breeze. Once you communicate your wishes to our development staff and scholarship team, we will draw up an official gift agreement for you to review and sign. If you are creating a future scholarship with a planned gift, you can update your gift agreement if your financial situation or areas of support change.

4. Fund your commitment.

If you use a planned giving method to fund your scholarship, you are all set since you will be using resources from your estate.

If you are funding a current gift, there are many different assets you can use like cash, securities, real estate, donor advised funds and IRA charitable rollovers. All endowed gifts are payable over a five-year period, and all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. As mentioned earlier, don’t forget to check to see if your employer or spouse’s employer participates in our matching program to increase your impact!

5. Award your recipient.

When your scholarship is fully funded, our team will let you know when your recipient will be awarded. You will receive a biographical form on your scholar and a thank you letter once your student is selected.

6. Enjoy a rewarding relationship with a grateful Aggie!

The best part of this entire process: You get to build a meaningful relationship with a deserving Aggie! Many donors and scholars stay in close contact throughout the scholar’s journey and develop a valuable mentorship.

Planned giving donors of EOAs, FEAs and PESs now have the opportunity to “adopt a scholar” with a new program the Foundation developed to connect generous planned giving donors with scholars whose donors have passed away. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the scholarship; what matters is the strong Aggie bonds that are built along the way.

Ready to bring your scholarship experience full circle by helping an Aggie in need? Contact Al Pulliam ’87 below for more information.