Approval/Revision of Scholarships, Studentships, Prizes and Awards

Please find below the scheduled meeting dates of the Scholarships and Awards Group in academic year 2018-19 and the submission deadlines for SAG1 Forms‌ that require consideration and approval by the Group:

Submission Deadline

Date of Meeting

23 October 2018

6 November 2018

29 January 2019

12 February 2019

5 March 2019

19 March 2019

23 April 2019

7 May 2019

Procedures for the Approval/Revision of Scholarships, Studentships, Prizes and Awards

Financing an Award

Enquiries about the financing of a prize should be directed to the Finance Department (ext 5012) before School approval is sought.  Money prizes can be paid from School funds, philanthropic gifts, or external sponsors.  Additionally, prizes can be paid from the annual income generated by a bequest or a gift to the University.  An award may also take the form of a medal, certificate, book-token etc.

The University's Policy on Acceptance/Refusal of Gifts, Endowments and Legacies sets out clear guidelines on the circumstances in which the University will approve the establishment of a gift, endowment or legacy.

Procedure for Establishing an Award

Once the Director of Development has confirmed that the University is willing to accept the gift/endowment/legacy, Schools should draft rules governing the proposed award which reflect the wishes of the donor.  In doing so, advice should be sought from the University's Benefactions Officer, Elaine Stockman (ext 5009).  Staff should not seek external legal advice on their own initiative. Staff should complete a SAG1 Formand follow the most appropriate procedure:

For endowed awards:

  1. Draft regulations for awards endowed in perpetuity should be submitted to the Secretary of the Awards and Endowments Working Group (AEWG), AEWG provides details of the original obligation.
  2. AEWG decides if the draft regulation is in line with the original obligation.
  3. If no, Secretary, AEWG, returns it to the fundholder for amendment.
  4. If so, Secretary, SAG, takes it to the Scholarships and Awards Group.

All other awards:

  1. Draft regulations governing awards which are to be spent down over a period of time or supported from School funds should be submitted to the Secretary of SAG.
  2. Secretary, SAG, takes it to SAG for approval.
  3. Secretary, SAG, returns it to the fundholder if further information required.

Following detailed consideration, SAG will make recommendations to Education Committee for the approval of procedures for development, implementation, co-ordination and evaluation of all centrally-funded prizes, scholarships and awards, and other awards for which no other body has responsibility.

The above steps are outlined in the Procedure Flowchart.

Drafting Rules

Rules should be framed in plain English. Care and precision at this early stage can help to prevent selection difficulties later on.  The prize or award should ideally have a distinctive title, and a few lines at the outset to explain the origin of the prize. The rules should then make clear the purpose of the award and address the following questions:

  1. The number of awards available, their magnitude, tenure and frequency.
  2. When there is more than one award, whether they are of equal value.
  3. If a cup or a medal is involved, whether it is awarded permanently or must be returned.
  4. Whether awards are renewable, and if so whether renewal is automatic or involves re-application.
  5. Eligibility - e.g. undergraduates/postgraduates/full-time/part-time.
  6. How the decision is made and by whom.  Usually a panel rather than one individual will make the decision, but it is important to make clear how "best" is determined - e.g. " to the student who, in the judgement of the Examiners, submits the best dissertation…."
  7. Whether there is a minimum standard, i.e. whether selectors reserve the right not to make an award; how the decision is made and by whom.  Usually a panel rather than one individual will make the decision, but it is important to make clear how "best" is determined - e.g. " to the student who, in the judgement of the Examiners, submits the best dissertation…."
  8. Who formally makes the award and writes the letter - e.g. "the prize will be awarded by the School  on the recommendation of the selection panel".
  9. How candidates apply - i.e. whether consideration is automatic, if application forms are used (mention generic closing dates and an address for the submission of applications), or whether candidates should apply in writing.

Particular care should be taken to ensure that the rules for any award, and any subsequent revisions, reflect the intentions of the person(s) who originally established it.  If possible, a degree of flexibility should be built into the rules to allow the awarding body to make necessary changes to the rules without recourse to law - e.g. "normally, awards in the region of at least £500 will be made, subject to the income generated by the Fund".

Making Revisions to Rules

Proposals for revising rules should be submitted by Schools to the Scholarships and Awards Group.  The procedure for making revisions to rules will be the same as those for establishing an award (see above Procedure for Establishing an Award).

Capitalisation and Ongoing Review

The Awards and Endowments Working Group periodically requests Schools to identify unspent balances building up in the funds under their control, with a view to capitalising these balances - this is good practice as it will increase the annual income generated by a particular fund.  Schools are also encouraged to review the rules governing their prizes and awards on an ongoing basis, as these can become out-of-date or inoperable, e.g. because the terminology fails to reflect changes in the structure or nomenclature used by the University.

Reporting Award Winners

The names of recipients of all prizes, medals, awards, etc. in the preceding year should be reported to the Scholarships and Awards Group by 1 October each year.  Details will then be reported to the Scholarships and Awards Group in an annual Awards paper.  While students at registration are asked to sign their consent to having details of prizes and awards released to the media, it is good practice to include a Data Protection statement on both application forms and award letters.  Two examples are set out below:

Application form: The information contained in this form is fed into a database compiled by XXX to facilitate the scholarship allocation exercise.  A summary table, and copies of each form, are circulated to members of the Scholarship’s award panel, but copies are destroyed after the meeting, apart from one set held securely in the office for approximately xx years.  Unless you indicate otherwise, the University assumes that you consent to have your details processed in this way.

Award letter: The names of the recipients of prizes, scholarships, studentships and other awards are reported to the Scholarships and Awards Group. The University may also publicise award-winners in the local press or in promotional material. Unless you indicate otherwise, the University assumes that you consent to have your details processed in this way.