State Councils Scholarship Challenge Grants

Presidents of independent colleges and universities have made it clear that one of their highest priority needs is additional scholarship aid for deserving students. A second need is for scholarships that can improve student retention beyond the first year. To help address these needs, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) offers its State Councils the opportunity to apply for challenge grants designed to leverage additional gifts for scholarships, with the CIC grant and matching funds passed along to the State Council’s member colleges as student financial aid. To earn the CIC grant, State Councils must raise at least the challenge grant amount—but ideally more—from outside sources before the end of the fiscal year.

Current Status

Since its inception, the Scholarship Challenge Grant program has generated over $3.63 million in new scholarships for deserving students across the country. The CIC State Councils that have run challenge grant campaigns thus far used their challenge grants from CIC as leverage to raise more than two and a half times the total challenge grant amount—more than $2.4 million—in new or increased scholarship gifts to benefit the students at their member colleges and universities.


Only CIC State Council Members are eligible to apply for funding through the Scholarship Challenge Grants Program.​

Contact Information

If you have questions about the grant application, please contact Sherita C. Ashmon, director of State Councils and networks support, at (202) 466-7230 or

About CIC’s State Councils

Learn more about CIC’s State Councils, including the array of progams and opportunities that are available to members.