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Education sponsorship is the provision of financial support for a person's or community's education. This kind of sponsorship can be provided directly by individuals or through organizations. Sponsorship can occur in diverse contexts ranging from the sponsorship of one's own family members to the international sponsorship of an individual or group of people that the sponsor has never met.
A student's own relatives or other personal relations can sponsor his or her education. In this context, education sponsorship is usually informal and given with few restrictions. Such sponsors may expect repayment at some point or encourage a preferred academic direction, but these expectations will normally not be legally binding on the student in any way.
Another type of education sponsorship is when a sponsoring organization — which could be governmental, nongovernmental or the educational institution itself — requires something of the student in return for the sponsorship. A tuition fee might be waived in cases wherein students in need commit to apply their educations in specified ways after graduation. A government seeking to place more nurses in a medically understaffed region, for instance, might offer education sponsorship with the requirement of a subsequent term of service in that region.
There are many charitable organizations that facilitate education sponsorships for students that would otherwise have trouble staying in school or accessing education. These organizations might operate nationally or internationally. Sponsorship can support students in a variety of ways, but always with the aim of enabling students to achieve their educational goals. Funds provided might all go toward tuition fee payments, for instance. In other cases, sponsorship money might provide school supplies, educational facilities, counseling services, nutritious meals, housing or any other necessary elements to support successful learning.
Some large organizations focus on providing sponsorship to individuals while others support communities. In communities where financial resources are scarce, resentment can occur when certain individuals are sponsored while others are not. To avoid inadvertently creating such distinctions — and possibly another hurdle to cooperation and development within the community — many organizations have opted to spread funds around rather than investing in particular individuals. Regardless of how funds are distributed, it is a common practice for organizations to put sponsors in contact with people benefiting from their donations. If a whole community is the beneficiary of the sponsorship, a representative member of that community might provide personal case examples to the sponsor of how his or her money has been making a difference.