Categories: Scholarships

Scholarship as CSR initiative: Benefits and challenges

There is no dearth of young talent in India, however, due to lack of financial support, lakhs of students are unable to pursue their interest and talent. They drop-out from formal education system due to varied reasons, bringing the higher education GER in India down to 22.

Post 1 April 2014, with CSR policy in place, many corporations, such as Indian Oil, HUL, L’Oreal India, Marubeni, DLF, have started supporting meritorious, underprivileged students with scholarships. Going by the trend, these scholarship programs have garnered a positive response from all education stakeholders i.e. students, parents, teachers, institutions, education ministers etc.

Why do we need corporate scholarships?

Empowerment of education: Organizations these days choose scholarship as their CSR initiative to promote education among underprivileged children, who cannot afford to pursue formal education.

Customizability: Scholarships can be aligned with the mission and vision of the organization. Timeline, eligibility of awardees, amount of scholarship, disbursement, everything is customizable.

Trust building with the target customer: Funding education being the basic need of building a developed nation, channelling CSR through scholarship initiatives helps organizations build a stronger bond with their target group. L’Oreal India, with a large female clientele, has a scholarship program that supports girls with an aspiration to make a career in the science field.

Loyal employees: In the long run, the supported students can be nurtured to become an asset for the organization. They can be absorbed within organization with employment and be trusted to work efficiently, eventually building a better future for them.

Mentor for next scholar: After the scholars complete the course of education leveraging the scholarship, they can mentor and motivate more scholars. The benefitted students can guide the next lineage of meritorious students through the application process and help them pursue education. A new scholar community would be created by helping each other.

Challenges for providers

While scholarships come with innumerable benefits for the society, they also pose a number of challenges for the organization launching them. Some of the challenges include:

Promotion of scholarship: Just launching a scholarship is not enough. It needs ample promotion, both online and offline. Without channelling a huge investment for promotions, the initiative tends to fail to get the relevant traction. This might lead to extended budgets and under-utilization of the funds.

Technological support: A scholarship initiative that is backed by technology is beneficial for both the stakeholders, seeker as well as the provider. Since technology is ever-evolving, developing the right platform is a time taking and expensive process.

Monitoring of scholarship fund: A mechanism needs to be put in place to check whether the allocated funds have reached the right scholars and are being utilized well for education purpose. It is difficult for an organization to monitor it. There have been cases, where scholarship awards get misused for non-educational purposes.

Setting up a team: Scholarship involves multiple stages starting from planning to disbursal of funds. To ensure smooth functioning in a transparent and accountable manner, organizations need to set up teams with wide understanding and skillsets. Managing human resource, dedicated to this purpose becomes a tedious task and often ends up becoming a huge liability.

How does Buddy4Study help overcome these challenges?

With over 6 years of dedicated experience in scholarship domain, Buddy4Study has developed all the requisite technological expertise, promotional capabilities, and human resource management. For details, email me at ashutosh@buddy4study.com.

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