THE ASPSF TOOLBOX - SECTION 2
Useful resources for Affiliates of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund
POLICIES & PROCEDURES OF THE ASPSF
Requirements for Affiliate Status:
The mission of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund (ASPSF) is to enable single parents to attain self-sufficiency through post-secondary education. This is accomplished by initiating and developing community-based incentive scholarship funds within the state for the purpose of helping single parents enroll in institutions of higher learning, complete their studies, and obtain remunerative employment. Organizations wishing to assume responsibility for local Single Parent Scholarship Funds are encouraged to read the following policies and procedures carefully and to work closely with ASPSF staff in the development of their affiliates.
To qualify for affiliate status with the ASPSF, an organization must satisfy the following requirements:
- Maintain an active board of directors representative of all county residents with a recommended minimum of eight members, bylaws and operating plan; More info.
- Ensure that scholarship awards are provided to county residents who are:
- economically disadvantaged,
- single parents with primary custodial care of at least one child under the age of 18,
- high school graduates or hold the General Educational Development certificate (GED),
- have not previously earned a baccalaureate degree from a four-year institution of higher learning, with the exception of candidates for the Masters of Arts Degree in Teaching,
- recipients or applicants of the Federal Pell Grant, and
- enrolled in a post-secondary educational course of study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate of graduation.
- Accept responsibility for local fundraising and ensure that scholarships are disbursed on a consistent continuing basis, by semester or annually. More info.
- Ensure that scholarships are awarded on a fair and equitable basis without consideration of race, religion, ethnicity, age, gender or sexual orientation. Board members may not apply for scholarships; they may not participate in applicant rating or selection if close relatives by blood or marriage are applicants.
- Ensure proper management of all contributions, grants and other monies made available to the affiliate,
- Provide timely information to ASPSF concerning the number of scholarships awarded, amount of funds raised and disbursed, demographic data of awardees, success rate of awardees, generated publicity and other information as may reasonably be requested. More info.
- Administer a Single Parent Scholarship Fund as a free-standing program of post-secondary educational assistance, with no requirements of awardees to participate in other programs or activities beyond the scope of the SPSF.
- Submit to the ASPSF a completed Affiliation Agreement Form and a copy of its constitution and governing bylaws, a current contact list of all SPSF board members, and a copy of the current Memorandum of Understanding between it and its fiscal sponsor (if applicable). More info.
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Organizational Status of Affiliates:
The ASPSF seeks established organizations to sponsor the financial management of SPSF affiliates. Ideally, these are nonprofit organizations with 501(c)3 tax exempt status that have their own bookkeeping and auditing systems as well as strong roots in the community. However, a wide range of organizations compose our family of affiliates, including such entities as community colleges, economic development districts, public school districts, and several community action agencies. We will work closely with any established or startup nonprofit group as long as it is willing to serve the entire community, holds values similar to those which guide the ASPSF, and demonstrates the potential of developing a successful Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
ASPSF affiliates are groups, whether they are called affiliate boards of directors, advisory boards, task forces or committees, that take responsibility for the planning and implementation of local SPSF operation. Unless the group is an incorporated and tax-exempt nonprofit, it needs to establishes a relationship with another incorporated and tax-exempt nonprofit to accept tax-deductible donations and receive financial management services. The sponsoring organization, the "fiscal sponsor", provides fiduciary services to the affiliate according to terms of a negotiated agreement. Click here to view a SAMPLE agreement.
To apply for fiscal sponsorship through the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, click here.
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Consistent Provision of Scholarships:
Once an affiliate is able to offer its first semester of scholarships, awards should be made on a consistent, semester by semester basis. This will require ongoing efforts by the affiliate's board to maintain a donor base capable of supporting scholarship awards. Although a few SPSF affiliates disburse scholarships once per year, more commonly affiliates practice to make such disbursements at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Summer semester awards, in addition to fall and spring, are made in counties with more substantial donor bases.
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Applicant Eligibility Guidelines and Selection Procedures:
Each affiliate must award scholarships based on the mandated statewide guidelines, which are scholarship applicants who:
- are economically disadvantaged,
- are single parents with primary custodial care of at least one minor child,
- are high school graduates or hold the General Education Development certificate (GED),
- have not previously earned a baccalaureate degree from a four-year institution of higher learning, with the exception of candidates for the Masters of Arts degree in Teaching,
- are recipients or applicants of the Federal Pell Grant, and
- are enrolled in a post-secondary educational course of study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate of graduation.
Establishing additional applicant eligibility guidelines, printed application forms, and a specific method for recipient selection are fundamental components of all ASPSF affiliates. The board of directors for each affiliate should establish guidelines which reflect its intent to assist residents of the county who are single parents in need of financial assistance. Other factors the affiliate boards may want to consider include:
- the career direction, goal or commitment of the applicant,
- the type of institution attended,
- the applicant's income level or access to financial resources,
- the applicant's marital status,
- the applicant's grade point average or enrollment status, if appropriate, and
- the application submission for a Federal Pell Grant.
Many affiliates use the Scholarship Management System as a centralized recordkeeping system to manage student records and to enable their students to apply online for the scholarship. ASPSF does not require affiliates to use the online application method, and each affiliate is free to design their own form. Click here to view a sample scholarship application form.
Applicant selection procedures may include: screening of applications to insure completeness and satisfaction of eligibility guidelines; personal interviews; and ranking of applicants according to criteria determined by the affiliate board. Each affiliate should decide on its own criteria based on the general specifications outlined by the ASPSF.
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Pending availability, the ASPSF awards matching grants for local affiliate fundraising efforts. The current rate of match is $8,000 annually in the 27 Delta counties (See The Delta Scholarship Project) and $7,000 annually to all other counties. Each affiliate must submit a Matching Funds Request Form after local funds have been raised. Documentation of local donations in support of each request (i.e. photocopies of bank deposit receipts, contribution checks, deposit slips, or official financial statements documenting donations) is also required. The form must be signed by the preparer of the request and the fiscal officer of the affiliate. A fiscal officer is a representative of the fiscal sponsor who has the authority to sign documents on behalf of the organization. The cycle of matching grant eligibility is based on the calendar year. ASPSF does not make any guarantees on the availability of matching funds, so it is highly recommended that affiliates submit their matching grant requests early in the year in order to insure grant availability.
The ASPSF will match any contribution to an affiliate regardless of its origin, with the exception of our own grants. Affiliates are encouraged to explore and pursue the full range of local donor support and to utilize the availability of ASPSF matching grants as a leveraging factor in fundraising. Technical assistance in fundraising, donor identification, and recordkeeping is available from the ASPSF staff. Fundraising fundamentals are explored in Section 7 of this guide. There are also many resources to aid in fundraising available in the Affiliates section of this site.
$50,000 Matching Grant Bonus Pool. For each year the Bonus Pool is available, ASPSF will divide $50,000 in additional funds among all affiliates that meet the full matching grant award in during the prior year. Participation is based on total eligible matching grant requests submitted to the ASPSF office on or before December 31st of the prior year; These bonus funds are not eligible for additional match by ASPSF.
Official Matching Grant Policy. Donation checks dated within ten (10) days before December 31st may be matched either in the year stated in the issue date of the check or in the following year, as follows:
- To request a match of funds in the year stated in the issue date of the check, the matching funds request and applicable documentation must be faxed or post-marked on or before December 31st of that year.
- To apply the funds toward the following year match, the money MUST be deposited on or before January 10th of the following year. Matching funds request documentation MUST include both: (1) photocopy of the check or payable instrument, (2) copy of the deposit slip.
Funds issued for all other dates must be requested for match within the year they were issued. If a match is requested for the year stated in the issue date of the donation, the request must be received or postmarked by December 31st of that year.
Matching funds will only be awarded upon submission of a complete request packet. A complete request packet includes a completed matching funds request form that is signed and dated by authorized SPSF officials and acceptable documentation supporting the request. Documentation must show proof that donations were actually received by the affiliate and/or deposited into a checking account for the benefit of an affiliate scholarship fund.
Matching grant requests may be made based on total proceeds raised before expenses (gross proceeds). ASPSF does not limit matching grants to only the amount of profit received (net proceeds).
Acceptable documentation includes the following items:
- Photocopy of bank deposit slip showing the affiliate name and address as the account holder. Deposit slips must be filled in and dated. They must also be encoded by a bank teller machine or bank teller stamp. Deposit slips which do not indicate the bank has processed them are not acceptable forms of documentation.
- Photocopies of checks issued to the affiliate. Checks issued to the fiscal agent must include a memo line or payee line that indicates the donation is intended to benefit the affiliate scholarship fund.
- Photocopy of official minutes of meetings held by the fiscal sponsor which indicate approval of a donation or transfer of money from the fiscal sponsor's organization to the Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
- Official copies of bank statements or fiscal financial statements if accompanied by other items as stated above. Official statements must be dated and labeled with the name of the affiliate scholarship fund.
Documentation which is not acceptable:
- Receipts of donations where the receipt is issued by the affiliate scholarship fund or its representatives.
- Photocopies of currency or coins without supporting documentation that shows the amount was deposited into the affiliate/fiscal agency checking account for the benefit of the affiliate (see above list of acceptable items).
- Written or verbal pledges from individuals, foundations or businesses.
- Flyers, newspaper articles, photographs or other marketing material indicating a fundraising event did or will take place. NOTE: We request these items to be included as secondary material within the matching funds request packet so we may highlight the efforts of affiliate scholarship funds in promotional publications, as well as to archive the history and success of the entire organization.
- Bank statements or fiscal financial statements that are not accompanied by adequate supporting documentation (see list of acceptable items above).
- Deposit slips or deposit receipts which do not have the appropriate information as described in the list of acceptable supporting documentation above.
Failure to provide adequate documentation with the matching funds request will delay fulfillment of the request until adequate documentation is received and/or cause the request to be denied. The original request may be denied if the matching grant application is not completed or supporting documentation is not received by the ASPSF foundation office on or before December 31st of the year for which a matching grant is being requested.
Affiliates that have not submitted previous year Annual Follow-up Reports on or before the report deadline are not eligible to receive matching grants from ASPSF until the report has been submitted. Once the report has been submitted, provided the report is submitted before December 31st of the current year, the matching funds may be released.
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Affiliate Fiscal Management and Reporting:
Whether an affiliate handles its own money or enters into a fiscal sponsorship agreement with another nonprofit, accurate recordkeeping and handling of all funds is essential to a successful Single Parent Scholarship Fund. At its most basic, the bookkeeping system should track all receipts (credits) and expenditures (debits) as required by the local board. The system should also lend itself to an annual audit made available to members of the affiliate board of directors and, upon request, to donors.
The ASPSF requires that requests for matching grants include documentation of local support. It also requires that reports on scholarship awards include the value and number of scholarships. This information must be accurate and current to satisfy reporting requirements and to be made available (when appropriate) to the public. A major factor in attracting and keeping donors to the Single Parent Scholarship Fund is our affiliates' reputation in the community. Accurate and efficient fiscal recordkeeping is crucial to building and maintaining an honorable reputation. Section 3 provides more information about financial management of a Single Parent Scholarship Fund.
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Affiliate Reports to ASPSF:
Maintaining current information on the number and dollar value of scholarships awarded by affiliates is critical to our organization. Affiliates are required to submit a Scholarship Award Report by the end of each semester.
Information on the amount of generated local support should be provided to the ASPSF on the Matching Funds Request Form, submitted each time affiliates wish to receive a matching grant for local contributions raised. Read more about matching grant policies and guidelines above.
Affiliates are also asked to submit the Annual Follow-Up Report each year. This report provides information on the retention, graduation, drop-out, and employment rates and certain demographic information of recipients served during the previous year, and is used to determine the effectiveness of our program in helping students to complete their studies in preparation for remunerative, skilled employment.
The ASPSF always appreciates receiving copies of public service announcements, news articles, fundraising materials, brochures, thank-you letters from recipients, and any other publicity generated by affiliates. These are used to inform the general public and our donors of the efforts made to help single parents in their academic and career pursuits.
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Application for Affiliate Status:
Organizations interested in assuming responsibility for affiliate status are urged to discuss their interest with the ASPSF prior to submitting an Affiliation Agreementform. This form may be submitted at any time, accompanied by a copy of the applicant organization's constitution and governing bylaws. If the applicant organization is not established as a nonprofit organization and/or does not have a written set of bylaws, further conferencing with ASPSF staff will be necessary to determine eligibility.
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Termination of Affiliate Status:
Should an affiliate fail to meet its responsibilities as outlined previously or submit intentionally inaccurate or incomplete information, a notice shall be issued to the affiliate board of directors informing them that the affiliation status is in jeopardy. ASPSF staff will clearly and specifically describe its reasons for taking this action and will give the affiliate a reasonable amount of time to comply. If the affiliate has not complied within the allotted amount of time, a notice of termination of affiliation will be issued. Once such a notice is sent, the organization in question will no longer represent its county as an ASPSF affiliate and a replacement organization will be sought.
For more information on these policies and procedures, please contact our office.
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Ideal Affiliate Characteristics:
Listed below are ideal characteristics of an affiliate. No one affiliate will meet all of these, nor is it expected that one should. Rather these are offered as simple guidelines for how an affiliate can determine for itself if it is working at its fullest potential:
- The affiliate has a diverse board that reflects the diversity of the county.
- Field representatives are involved in the work of the board (where applicable)
- The board is community oriented. It has an active public outreach component that includes public relations, community participation in fundraising, and community understanding of the role of the affiliate.
- The affiliate awards scholarships three times a year.
- At least three representatives of the affiliate attend the Leadership Development Conference and regional training workshops.
- The affiliate submits reports and information and responds to ASPSF in a timely manner.
- The board meets at least eight times per year, or has committees that meet at least monthly to conduct ongoing business of the affiliate.
- The affiliate holds at least one high-profile community fundraiser annually.
- The affiliate has a broad base of support.
- Leadership within the affiliate rotates on a regular schedule, with at least one new member and one existing member rotating off each year.
- The affiliate has a board development committee that actively recruits highly dedicated leadership.
- The board is comprised of at least 12 members.
- The affiliate leadership agrees to and signs a Board Service Commitment Pledge.
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