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The purpose of NSPA Learning Circles is to facilitate dialog and exchange of good practices among NSPA members who are working in similar organizations or have common interests and/or challenges. These groups contribute to a body of knowledge for the wider NSPA community. Learning circles meet virtually as a group each quarter.



To listen to recordings and view materials from past learning circles, please click on the learning circle that is of interest to you.

Colleges and Universities Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Centralized or De-centralized Scholarship Administration, Selection Committee Best Practices, Scholarship Office Nuts and Bolts, and Resources and Advocacy for Undocumented Students

Community Foundations Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Scholarship Donors: Establishing & Maintaining Positive, Trust-Based Relationships, Marketing Your Scholarship Program, Managing Committees, and Corporate Scholarship Policy and Programs

Private Foundations Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Student Support Services, Recruitment and Selection, Building an Inclusive Scholarship Program, and Wraparound Services for Scholars

Public Charities Recordings & Resources

  • Recent topics include: Deadline Day Dos and Don't, Promotion, Structure, and Deadlines, The Good and the Bad: Merit Based Scholarships, and Two Different Paths: Merit vs. Need Based Scholarships

Upcoming Learning Circles   

Topic: Transitioning Our Scholarship Programs from Administrative Burdens to Strategic Assets
Date: December 14, 2017 from 12PM-1PM (MT) Click HERE to Register!

Facilitators: Sarah T. Battersby, Scholarships and Donor Services Officer at the Triangle Community Foundation and Erika Orsulak, Director of Education Programs, Community Foundation of North Central Washington
Description: At October’s 2017 NSPA Conference, we heard from a number of our Community Foundation peers about our shared goals of transitioning existing scholarship programs from, as National College Access Network (NCAN) labels them, “administrative burdens to strategic assets”. Many of us were inspired by NCAN’s May 2017 white paper, “How Community Foundations Can Transform Students’ Lives and Delight Donors,” while others had different motivations. No matter the inspiration, we see this as an admirable—and necessary—goal for those in the field who are committed to college access and completion and long-term success for students!

But shifting a scholarship program from an administrative burden to a strategic asset is a complicated project, to say the least. Depending on the Community Foundation, it might include everything from revising the organization’s strategies, to engaging a diverse group of stakeholders, to intensive research and analysis, to overhauling policies and procedures – and much more.

If you’re inspired to make strategic change at your Community Foundation and want to connect with others who are working to do the same, this Learning Circle is for you! We’ll share about our respective scholarship programs, talk about potential opportunities and challenges, and share thoughts with each other on how best to proceed down this path.

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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