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How to Write a Scholarship Thank You Letter

Written by Elizabeth Brenneman
Updated: February 3, 2022
7 min read
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In the midst of the excitement of winning a scholarship, writing a scholarship thank you letter is likely not on your mind. However, a scholarship thank you letter can make a real impact and contribute to even more scholarships being made available.

How to Write a Scholarship Thank You Letter in 6 Simple Steps:

  1. Use a professional and kind opening
  2. State why you're writing to them
  3. Explain the significance of the scholarship
  4. Discuss your future goals
  5. Thank the donor again and sign your name
  6. Be sure to proofread

And click here for frequently asked questions about scholarship thank you letters.

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The importance of financial aid

As a student, you're likely aware of how expensive college can be. Rising tuition, in addition to expensive room and board and the significant expense of books, can make paying for college feel impossible.

The skyrocketing costs of college have forced millions of students to turn to loans to finance their degrees. The growing debt crisis has swept up more than 45 million borrowers in the US who owe over $1.7 trillion in student debt.

Many borrowers are paying their loans off years or even decades after graduating, and high interest rates only make it more difficult to pay off debt.

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The struggle to make loan payments has resulted in an 11.1% delinquency rate. While some are hopeful that their student debt will be canceled, the crisis is currently affecting millions of people's ability to move forward in their lives.

The intimidating student loan statistics have made many students wary of relying on loans, leaving scholarships as a great option for making up the difference.

Scholarships are able to create real change in the lives of students, helping them avoid loans, pursue their dreams, and graduate debt-free. The generosity of scholarship donors is therefore a key aspect of eliminating student debt, making thank you letters a wonderful gesture and a way of encouraging even more donations.

Thanking your donor with a well written letter

There are many types of donors, but each plays a role in providing financial aid. Scholarship organizations like make it easy for anyone to fund a scholarship, so your donor may be an individual, a family, a small business, or even a large company.

Scholarships vary in size, ranging from $500 to $75,000. Regardless of the amount, the donor made a selfless contribution in an effort to fund the educational pursuits of students like you. Writing a scholarship thank you letter is an easy way to thank the donor for their generosity and it can show them that they made a real impact in your life, possibly inspiring them to fund more scholarships.

How to Write Your Scholarship Thank You Letter

Your thank you letter format can depend on what type of scholarship you've won. If you receive financial aid at your college from alumni donations, your school may reach out to you requesting that you write thank you letters to the individuals or families who have helped fund your degree.

Your school may request handwritten notes of a certain length and format, or they may request a video, email, or other expression of gratitude.

For scholarships won outside of your school, such as through, you can use this letter template to create a well-written letter.

1. Use a professional and kind opening

To begin your letter, use an opening such as "Dear scholarship donor," using the donor's name if you know it (such as Dear Mrs. Smith). A somewhat formal or professional opening shows that you're putting thought into your letter and reflects your respect and gratitude for the donor.

2. State why you're writing to them

In the first paragraph of your letter, tell the donor why you're writing to them so they know you're a recipient of their award.  An example of stating your purpose is to say, "I am writing to express my gratitude for the (name of scholarship) and to thank you for all of your generous support."

3. Explain the significance of the scholarship

The next section of your letter can be more personal and is often the most important aspect of the letter. Explain the effect that the scholarship had on your life and education and exactly how it has helped you.

You can include personal circumstances that contributed to your financial need, the scholarship's impact on your college experience, or any other relevant details that you're comfortable sharing.

You can tell the donor how their scholarship helped you afford tuition for the academic year or if the scholarship made it possible for you to stay in school or avoid debt. Real stories like yours show donors that their contributions have a genuine impact and that it's worthwhile to fund additional scholarships in the future, thus helping more students.

4. Discuss your future goals

After telling the donor how their scholarship has already helped you, you can then give them some insight into your goals for the future, whether these are career goals, educational goals, etc.

If you're planning on attending graduate school or pursuing a certain career field, you can tell them how their scholarship has helped you continue on this path.

You can also discuss steps you've already taken, such as participating in clubs or internships, and you can ensure them that you will work hard to be successful in your field.

Discussing your commitment to your career goals is an important aspect of your letter and shows the donor that selecting you as the winner was a great choice.

5. Thank the donor again and sign your name

Close your letter by reminding the donor of your gratitude for all of their support and their assistance with your future plans. Be sure to include a closing, such as "sincerely," and then sign your name so the donor is reminded of who you are.

6. Be sure to proofread your thank you letter

Before sending your letter, make sure you've read through it a couple of times and fixed any typographical and grammatical errors. Your letter will likely be reasonably short, so you can double-check your grammar very quickly, which can greatly improve the quality of your letter.

Following all of these steps will ensure that your letter reminds the donor of the importance of scholarships and can make them feel sincerely honored.

Frequently asked questions about scholarship thank you letters

Why should I write a scholarship thank you letter?

It may feel like your job should be done once you finish your scholarship application, so why take the time to write a thank you letter?

Depending on where your scholarship came from, you likely aren't required to write a thank you letter. However, it's important to let scholarship donors know about the impact they had on your life.

Expressing sincere gratitude for the donor's help easing the financial burden of college encourages them to fund more scholarships, leading to more students receiving aid.

Regardless of the size of a scholarship, it will positively impact the life of the recipient so scholarship thank you letters are a simple way of expressing gratitude for donors' generosity.

Who is my scholarship donor?

Scholarships can come from many different sources. A scholarship from your school may come from a variety of alumni or other donors who have made contributions to financial aid funds. You can ask your university about your donor(s) and your university will likely encourage you to write a thank you letter.

Do I have to write a thank you letter for all sources of my financial aid?

There are many different types of financial assistance available for higher education. While you may not be required to write a letter for any of your financial aid sources, you should consider writing letters to individual donors or companies who have sponsored you.

For other types of financial aid, such as money given from the FAFSA, merit scholarships from your school, or student loans, you do not need to write a thank you letter and can simply apply the money.

How do I use the scholarship?

Navigating the world of financial aid and scholarship applications can feel daunting. strives to make the process of finding and applying for scholarships as painless as possible, and the process of using a scholarship is no different.

For high school winners, we'll hold your award for you until you enroll in a college or university, at which time we'll send the money to your financial aid office. College winners will have their check immediately sent to their school for usage, or they can opt to use it at some point within the next year.

For scholarships for graduates with student debt, you'll be able to use the money directly for your student loans.

How many scholarships can I win?

There's no limit to the number of scholarships you can win on, and there are plenty of students who have already won multiple scholarships on the site. Get started today by signing up with to find scholarships that are right for you.

Click below to go back up to one of the sections above:

  1. Use a professional and kind opening
  2. State why you're writing to them
  3. Explain the significance of the scholarship
  4. Discuss your future goals
  5. Thank the donor again and sign your name
  6. Be sure to proofread

Elizabeth Brenneman
Donor Publications Lead

About Elizabeth

As the Donor Publications Lead, Elizabeth specializes in drafting and managing scholarship proposal drafts for donors at She leverages her firsthand experience applying for and winning scholarships and has navigated the process of taking out and paying back student loans.

Elizabeth graduated from Georgetown University with a major in English and Government with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies and is now a J.D. candidate at New York University School of Law. 


At Georgetown University, Elizabeth was a news reporter for The Hoya, where she pitched articles, conducted interviews, attended local events, and drafted content. Through college, she also worked as a tutor and served as a mentor for high school students as they applied for college. Elizabeth currently engages in legal and research writing at the New York University School of Law.

Since joining the team in 2021, Elizabeth started as a Content Writer and has since become the Donor Publications Lead. She is an avid writer with a passion for creating scholarships for donors and crafting content that informs and assists students and young professionals. Motivated by her firsthand experience as a student, Elizabeth is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and the resources she’s discovered to help the next generation of students succeed.

Quote from Elizabeth

“Change is possible. The more people, organizations, schools, and companies talk about the student debt crisis, the easier it will be for students to find the help they need and for college to be made more accessible.”

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