Most states responding to the 2013 RTAP Manager’s Survey (76%, or 38 states), provide scholarships to subrecipients. States typically allow scholarship money to be used for attendance at conferences, roadeos, workshops, and other training. Hawaii allows for equipment purchase with scholarship funds, if the equipment is related to training. Scholarship guidelines are outlined in policies that are often posted on the state RTAP webpage. RTAP managers can, based on funding levels and need, impose guidelines such as monetary amount allowed per scholarship, eligible use of scholarship money, and number of scholarships per person, per year. RTAP programs may also have a maximum number of scholarships given out total, per year. For example, an RTAP program may give out scholarships for in-state training only, for out-of-state training, or the attendee might need to have a matching contribution from his or her agency. Some sample scholarship guidelines are included.
Most State RTAP programs that have a scholarship program also have a scholarship policy. An explicit policy (preferably public), is a best practice. It will let subrecipients know exactly how many trainings they can attend with the funds, how much they can spend in total, and will allow them to plan their training schedule accordingly. States generally require scholarship applicants to submit a proposal prior to the event, and approve each scholarship individually. Once approved, the applicant will attend the event and submit the final paperwork. Payments will be made at that point. State RTAP managers will need to evaluate the proposals and deliver the payments.
Policies generally include how the money can be used, exactly which expenses can be reimbursed, eligible recipients, and how the application process works. One example of how to display this policy on a website can be found at CTAI’s webpage (Community Transportation Association of Idaho). Most other organizations link to a downloadable PDF of the policies, scholarship application, and other necessary documents. In order to write your scholarship policy, you will need to consult your advisory group, and use your budget for guidance about how many scholarships you can reasonably offer. Other examples of robust scholarship programs include Washington RTAP and New York State RTAP.