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tennessee technological university

Advancement Services

University Advancement Guidelines

Donor Funded

Gifts for Scholarships at Tennessee Tech

Tennessee Technological University accepts and appreciates gifts of any amount to support scholarships. The following is provided as general guidance for those individuals contemplating an endowed and/or named scholarship. Donors are encouraged to contact University Advancement at (931) 372-3206 or 1-800-889-8730.

A gift is defined as funds or property voluntarily bestowed upon the University without expectation of return or compensation on the part of the donor. As used here, University includes all colleges, schools, departments, academic and athletic programs, Alumni Association and its chapters, and the Agricultural, Athletic, Business Administration, Engineering, Education, Friends of the Library, and Nursing Foundations and the University Development Council (the University's foundation.) Donors may give to any of the above or give unrestricted in which case the gift will be used according to the University's current priorities.

Donations to University related activities such as fraternities and clubs may not qualify as gifts to the University. If in doubt , potential donors should call University Advancement.

Current gifts are received throughout the year. In order to qualify for the current calendar year, gifts must be postmarked by midnight, December 31. Donors are requested to have gifts to University Advancement by December 20 to assist in year-end processing. Some matching gift companies require that matching gift forms be processed during the same calendar year as the employee's gift in order to receive credit for that year.

Most scholarship recipients are selected well in advance of the start of the scholarship period. For example, some departments select scholarship winners in February for the academic year beginning in August. This may be a factor in the timing of an annual gift.

Gifts may be in the form of cash (check, credit card), securities, real estate, or other personal property such as art. All gifts-in-kind, including real or personal property, must be specifically approved prior to acceptance. In general, such gifts will not be accepted if encumbered by debt, or if financial or other obligations are disproportionate to the usefulness of the gift. The University may also require that such assets be readily marketable in order to fund scholarships.

Deferred gifts such as bequests, life insurance, and trusts to support future scholarships may be made at any time. Such gifts may be very simple or very complex, may have significant tax consequences, and may require the assistance of professional estate planners or attorneys. The Office of University Advancement's Director of Planned Giving can provide assistance in deferred/planned giving.

Matching gifts are an excellent way to enlarge one's personal gift. Matching gifts may double or even triple personal gifts and may be used as part of the total commitment or pledge to fund a scholarship.


There are two broad categories of scholarships: those funded with annual gifts and those funded with earnings from an endowment.

Annually Funded Scholarships
Annually funded scholarships may range from a few hundred dollars per year to full scholarships that fund tuition, fees, books, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses. Donors may make a one-time gift or pledge over a period of years. Pledges should be for a specific period so that the recipient program may plan on the availability of the scholarship.

Donors do not have to pay for scholarships in a lump sum. For example, many university employees pay for scholarships via monthly payroll deduction. Other donors may also use multiple payments.

Annual scholarships may be named by the donor for him/herself or in honor or memory of someone else. The University requests that scholarships be at least $1,000 to be named. However, smaller amounts pledged over a period of time may also qualify for naming. Each case will be evaluated separately.

The major advantage of an annually funded scholarship is that the donor's entire gift is used immediately. The major disadvantage is that it has a finite ending.

Endowed Scholarships
An endowment may be established with a minimum gift and/or pledge of $10,000 which may be paid over a period not to exceed 5 years. A minimum initial contribution of $2,000 to the endowment is required. The money is invested and managed as part of a large pool of endowments. A newly established endowment will earn interest immediately, but no money will be disbursed for scholarships until the $10,000 minimum principal is reached. Thereafter, only a portion of earned interest is disbursed so that the principal will continue to grow to help offset inflation and the increased cost of education.

The major advantage of the endowed scholarship is that it is perpetual and, once established, requires little maintenance or attention by the donor. One disadvantage may be that scholarships will be delayed if the $10,000 is paid over a period of time.


All endowments and some annual scholarships require a letter of agreement. Each letter of agreement is tailored to match the desires of the donor with the needs and requirements of the University and the program being funded.


The IRS has imposed certain restrictions on charitable giving that affect scholarship funding. In order to be tax deductible

  • a gift may not be designated for a relative or descendant of the donor.
  • the donor may not reserve the right to select the recipient of a gift or the recipient of endowment funds.
  • the donor may not restrict the use for future employment of any designated person.


Donors who give or pledge at least $10,000 will be recognized as President's Club members for a period of 10 years. Payment must be made at a minimum rate of $1,000 per year, except that endowments must be funded over a maximum of 5 years. There are recognition societies within the President's Club for higher levels of giving.


As a minimum, donors will be advised annually of scholarship winners. Federal law prohibits disclosing student grades.