Scholarship Marketing – how student brands can harness a new opportunity

If your company or brand is targeting students or you would like to raise awareness of your brand among the student market, have you thought about offering a scholarship?

Scholarship marketing has been common practice in America for many years now and many of the world’s biggest brands offer scholarships, such as Adobe, Dell, McDonalds and Coca Cola – all major players in the youth marketing sector.

The Student Money Survey, shows that the average student falls £277 short each week. The increase in tuition fees and the introduction of student loans has meant that the average student will graduate with estimated debts of around £50,000 and whilst some students received additional grants based on financial need, most need to rely on additional income, such as a part time job or money from their parents to ensure they do not fall in to debt and many do of course turn to overdrafts and credit cards to bridge the gap.

By offering a scholarship, brands can tackle an issue that is of concern to most students and position themselves as investing in their future. Many companies also use it to offer work experience placements and tie it in with graduate recruitment programmes.

Addressing a need among your target audience can only be good from a marketing perspective and it does not need to cost you a huge amount of money. New scholarships are currently rare and a scholarship of even £1,500 a year to one student could make a huge difference. Bigger scholarships could attract media coverage and the support of schools and universities in promoting it. 

Get creative

The word scholarship might understandably evoke images of academia and a team of marketing people handing over a cheque to some students but it does not need to be that way. Take a look at the Duck Tape Scholarship in America.  Students are encouraged to create prom outfits from Duck Tape and send in a photo of themselves to be entered in to the Scholarship Competition. Essentially it is a competition but the money they win has to be used towards tuition fees.

Achieving objectives

A scholarship can be designed and created to achieve any number of corporate or marketing objectives including:

  • Brand awareness
  • Attract new customers
  • Increase your marketing database
  • Get your message in to schools
  • Generate PR coverage

Different types of scholarships

Scholarships do not need to be limited to financial need. Scholarships can be offered for a wide range of things. You are offering the scholarship, so you decide on the eligibility criteria.

  • Competitive – creating scholarships to identify particular talents or to encourage particular activities which can be used to drive sales.
  • Academic merit – by offering scholarships on academic merit, companies could attract high quality applicants who are a potential source of high calibre graduates in future.
  • Financial need – addressing financial need can be a way of encouraging social mobility and assisting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to go on to higher education
  • Geographic – perhaps your company would like to be seen to be supporting students from your local community where the business operates
  • Sporting or Musical Achievement – encouraging sporting, artistic or musical talents

Marketing through scholarships is a new opportunity that has been created in the UK through political change. We have seen an increase in companies starting to harness this opportunity but as a social enterprise dedicated to developing new scholarships, we are keen to raise awareness of the opportunities this presents to marketers and how creatively they can be used.

Find out more about how we can help you by clicking here or we would be delighted to come and chat with you. 


Contact us

Find additional funding

Filter, find and apply for scholarships, grants or bursaries 
via the Funding Hub on Blackbullion.

Sign up now