Wanted: recipient of a Purple Heart applying to the School of Nursing.

No, the description is not from a personal ad.

Rather, it's a more specific set of requirements for one of Penn's many endowed undergraduate scholarships, which make up about 15 percent of the $92 million financial-aid grant budget.

The terms of such scholarships are directed by the donor, and they often come attached with preferences or specific restrictions.

And, like the Nursing military veteran, these restrictions can be a little unusual.

When establishing an endowed scholarship, "we want that donor to keep it as unrestricted as possible because we want to be able to use it every year," said Joanne Hanna, the director of development for undergraduate student aid. "If they restrict it to a left handed Eskimo, it's going to be tough to use," she said.

More recently, the University has made efforts to convince donors to loosen their grip on their gifts by including preferences, not restrictions.

Usually, most preferences listed by donors are very simple, like a student in a specific school or from a certain geographical area, but a few interesting ones still pop up.

One scholarship was originally donated in the 1940s for a student afflicted with polio, a disease that has been more or less eradicated in the United States.

Another scholarship was given by the Class of 1878 with the requirement that the student be nominated by a class member.

"I'm not sure how many class members of the Class of 1878 are still alive, unfortunately, to nominate," said Michael Merritt of Student Financial Services.

One scholarship that has only been awarded once requires that the student have a family member who was a victim of the Sept. 11 attacks, or a firefighter or policeman who served that day.

So what to do with a scholarship that can't be awarded?

Take it to court.

At Orphan's court, a part of the Philadelphia family court, the University can try to amend out-of-date scholarship funds.

"We try to stay as close as possible to the donor's intentions," Associate Treasurer of Investment Services Peg Heer said.

After writing a petition and receiving court approval, the University can then distribute the scholarship on its own terms.

About six or eight scholarships meant for students at the Wharton evening school, which no longer exists, are currently going through orphan's court. They will eventually be awarded to non-traditional students studying in Wharton.

The Class of 1878 scholarship has already been amended, and Heer anticipates that the polio scholarship will go to court soon.

"We'll probably take that and ask it to be used for students with disabilities," she said.

Financial-aid officials, however, try their best to award all scholarships with the donor's original intent.

"We're still looking for the Nursing Purple Heart," Merritt said.

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