Funding Scholarships

Erykah Butler loves being a special education preschool teacher in Oakland. Her experience as a graduate student in the Graduate College of Education is building on that experience and deepening her commitment to being a teacher. In 2023, she was awarded the Graduate College of Education Scholarship, which has had a big impact on her ability to pursue her educational journey.

Make a huge impact on a student's life

Receiving a scholarship can make a huge difference in students' ability to attend SF State and focus on their studies. One $1,000 scholarship provides the same financial support as 61 hours of minimum wage work - approximately the same investment of time needed for a student to take one class.

The diverse student body at San Francisco State University includes many students who are the first in their families to attend college. Making the University accessible through scholarships to students in need is a priority for the University. There are many established scholarship funds to support, from athletics to general needs. Many of our scholarships are endowed funds that grow over time to keep pace with the economy and raised tuition and fees.

In addition to supporting existing scholarship funds, some donors choose to establish newly named scholarship endowments. Currently, a $200,000 endowment will generate enough income to cover most of a student's annual tuition, fees, and some living expenses. $25,000 is the minimum donation to establish any named endowed fund. Email us to inquire about creating or funding a scholarship.

Establishing a scholarship fund

The assistance helps students focus on their studies and reduces the number of outside jobs they work, which can have a negative impact on graduation rates. To attract more scholarships, the University encourages alumni and friends to name these funds. Given students’ needs, the minimum to endow a named scholarship fund is $25,000 -- however you may “adopt a student” by naming an annual current fund scholarship with a minimum donation of $5,000.

Paying your donation over time

Pledged gifts are gratefully accepted and the University will make it easy by sending you pledge reminders at your request. Two-to three-year pledges are encouraged, and up to five years are allowed for $25,000 or more gifts.

Receive information about your scholarship recipient

Provided your donation is at the minimum level required to establish a named fund (see above), you will be informed about the recipients of your endowed scholarship. While some donors prefer to remain anonymous, and we work hard to ensure this for those who do, we encourage donors to let us publicize their identities to inspire others. Donors who identify themselves also have the opportunity to learn about the beneficiaries of their generosity. The University has scholarship and donor relations offices that work with scholarship recipients to assist them in personally acknowledging donors.

Despite supporting himself and putting himself through college, scholarship recipient Christian Camaño is double-majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics for Advanced Study, with a minor in Anthropology, and is avidly pursuing a future as a researcher in applied mathematics. He’s also very proactive as a mentor and runs an online forum for 400+ San Francisco State math students.

This moving 2-minute video features San Francisco State student Hassan Malik Russell, a graduate student in the M.S. Counseling program, speaking about the financial and emotional impact of receiving a scholarship. Hassan currently works at a high school in Richmond, and is obtaining a master's degree to achieve his dream of becoming a school counselor.

Olivia Gillett, recipient of the Scholarship for Diversity in Interior Design & Architecture, speaks about how winning and receiving the award changed her life in this inspiring video. 

If you would like to give to scholarships in a particular college or program, please contact:

Anjali Billa ( She/Her/Hers )
Associate Vice President
University Development
(415) 405-3625