The Truth About Scholarships

From who they help to how to make one, we debunk the top scholarship myths.

    By Hilary Nguyen ’26
  • Lead photo provided by Texas A&M Division of Marketing & Communications; Illustrations by Cari Vander Yacht
  • May. 14, 2024
    4 min read

It’s no secret that scholarships can transform lives. For many students, they’re what seal the deal and allow them to become Aggies and embark on their higher education journey. Scholarships also have immense ripple effects as recipients graduate and use what they learned in Aggieland to impact the world around them, eager to pay back the kindness of strangers who made their education possible. But while the impact of scholarships is clear, the details to creating one often feel shrouded in myths and misconceptions. Never fear; we’re here to cut through the noise and shed light on the scholarship-making process.

Myth #1: You can only create scholarships with cash.

While you can certainly use cash, check, credit card or electronic funds transfer to establish a scholarship, these are far from the only methods. You can also use real estate; securities like stocks, bonds or mutual funds; or other property like artwork, collectibles or intellectual property rights, all of which provide flexibility and additional tax benefits.

Don’t have the resources to give today? You can also create a planned gift that will take effect after your lifetime by leaving money to the Texas A&M Foundation in your will or naming the Foundation as the beneficiary of your retirement account, donor-advised fund or life insurance policy. This means you’ll continue to enjoy your assets during your life, and afterward, they’ll leave behind a lasting and meaningful impact on Aggies. It’s a win-win!

Myth #2: Creating a scholarship is only for the rich.

Sure, funding a scholarship is nothing to sneeze at—you’re helping someone afford a college education, after all! But it’s not exclusive to the wealthy; you just need the right approach.

Though the minimum amount to establish an endowed scholarship is $25,000, you can pay over a five-year period. Many employers also match donations their employees make to charity, or you could pool resources with friends or family who are also interested in supporting Aggies.

So, for instance, say you and your Aggie brother want to create a scholarship. You decide to pay over five years, and both your employers match every dollar you give. You’d only need to pay approximately $3.42 per day—less than the price of a Frappuccino!

Myth #3: My scholarship will only help students until the money is gone.

There are two main types of scholarships: endowed and pass-through. Pass-through gifts immediately create a scholarship that supports students until the original amount is used. In contrast, gifts for endowed scholarships are invested in the Foundation’s long-term investment pool, a highly diversified investment portfolio. As the gift is invested, it will produce a constant stream of annual returns that fund stipends for Aggies, while the original amount remains invested to continue supporting students for generations.

Myth #4: Scholarships only help certain kinds of students.

You can pick from one of many scholarship programs to support a range of Aggies, from veterans to students from underserved communities, or you can customize a scholarship in other ways to align with your passions and goals. You can also name your scholarship to build your own Aggie legacy or honor friends or family.

Your scholarship can support students in a specific major, with a certain GPA or classification, or from a named region; recognize and reward leadership or academic excellence; or assist students facing financial hardship. Moreover, you can tailor a scholarship for specific programs or initiatives and aid students involved in research or internships. So, if you want to create an academic merit scholarship for juniors studying biomedical engineering with a minimum 3.5 GPA, just say the word. Depending on the scholarship program, you can also meet your recipient through events and form lifelong relationships with them.


All it takes to start your philanthropic journey is to reach out to one of the Foundation’s development officers. From discussing your funding options and ways to support your passions to writing a gift agreement that will tailor your scholarship as desired, a development officer will guide you through the process every step of the way.

Start Your Journey: Want to dive deeper into scholarship specifics? Contact Al Pulliam ’87 to discuss your questions or click the button below to watch our MasterClass-style Giving Academy series on scholarships.

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