Reverse Scholarships Review Concept Legal Aspects COF Comments What Audience is Doing in This Area
Reverse Scholarships: Randy Maiers Stclairfoundation.org
Sounds Easy enough… Competitive scholarship program providing “back end” financial support for recent graduates Applicants must be willing to move back home to be eligible Applicants must be graduates of a STEAM program/degree Scholarships help pay off student debt
Why a Reverse Scholarship? You first have to understand the context of the conversation How did we arrive at this idea? How does it fit in with our strategic priorities? Why should non-donors and non-foundation friends care? How did this conversation begin?
“What’s Important to You?” then “What can we do about it?”
What’s Important? Having our kids come back home Having them take over the family business Or work on the farm as engineers, scientists, chemists, farmers and business owners – Today’s farms are big, high-tech businesses Or start up their own business Craft Agriculture…craft beer….hops farming…
And some brutal honesty…. Why do we send kids away to school? Why do you give out so many scholarships to kids who don’t come back? How do you know those scholarship dollars are a good investment? What % of your kids drop out, change majors, or don’t do what they said they would?
Traditional……Front end Scholarships…. Are they really a good investment?
If this is so important….. What can we do about it?
Our solution…. We’ll give donors a choice….front end scholarships or back-end…. We’ll invent: Reverse Scholarships We’ll pay recent college graduates to come back home instead of paying them to go away We’ll have a greater degree of certainty that our dollars will be invested wisely
How does it fit in? Downtown Revitalization Slowing down or reversing the “talent drain” Bringing skilled, educated and trained professionals back to small towns Increasing entrepreneurship Filling skilled & educated job openings Giving farmers & small shop owners a hope that a family member will take over their business
Reverse Scholarship? Never been done before by a community foundation No model to follow Is it legal? Is the income taxable? (for now it is) Is it charitable? We’re going to need some help….
More questions than answers.. 1.Does it run like a normal scholarship? 2.How do you define a “recent college graduate?” 3.Why STEAM? 4.How long do they have to live back in their “hometown? 5.What if they move? 6.What is the dollar amount of the scholarship?
Possible Legal Challenges…. Can we prove it “ lessens the burden of government?” Can it be operated under the auspices of local government….or…. Sanctioned by a local unit of government How can our EDA’s and local municipalities help? Some unit of government must consider the lack of STEAM grads as a “burden”
Answers….so far…. We think it can work…. Especially here in the Midwest Create a pilot program via a new Supporting Organization Working concurrently with our local units of government & Economic development organizations
Legal Aspects Dave Lindberg email@example.com
Charitable Issues to Consider Programs to attract medical professionals or teachers to underserved populations or areas experiencing shortages are charitable Attracting college graduates to a particular community in itself is not charitable. Economic development is not “per se” charitable
Charitable Aspects of Econ. Dev. Has the effect of relieving the poor, distressed or underprivileged, or combatting community deterioration Lessens neighborhood tensions, eliminating prejudice & discrimination, defending human & civil rights or combatting juvenile delinquency Lessens the burden of govt. in community suffering financial distress or disinvestment
What would make the reverse scholarship program charitable? 1.Promoting economic development in a financially distressed community 2.Local unit of government acknowledges the program lessens the burden of govt.
Key Indicators for Area Suffering Financial Distress Unemployment Rates Poverty Rates Vacant Housing Income Levels Mich State Housing Dev. Authority has criteria for distressed areas
Support For Lessening Burden of Govt. Identify broad charitable class that will benefit Local govt show interest in meeting need to be addressed through legislation or ordinance Document economic benefit to community or savings to govt.
Support For Lessening Burden of Govt. Continued Document relationship between community foundation & govt. agency Business owners who benefit from program should not be involved in management of program 1 or more public officials serve on committee administering program
Graduate Student Income Issues Scholarship would be taxable income
What’s Next Community Foundation of St. Clair County will be establishing a supporting org. to administer program Nationally pursue a private letter ruling with help of COF