With the cost of a college or university education continuing to rise, more students than ever will need help from financial aid and scholarships to reach their academic goals. As the cost of tuition increases and student debt load rises, it becomes increasingly more difficult for new graduates to enter their chosen field and earn a living wage. Many students find themselves unable to move out and start their post graduation lives because of the high monthly student loan payments they must make.
Scholarships are the best way for students to pursue their interests without accruing thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Making sure scholarships are managed properly and awarded to qualified students who exemplify the scholarship’s spirit is a serious job. While on the surface it may seem simple, managing a scholarship is a detailed process that requires time, attention, focus and organization. Fortunately, there are scholarship management software solutions from companies like FluidReview that take a lot of the pain out of the process. However, even a leading-edge software solution won’t substitute for a solid understanding of the proper outcomes of a scholarship program.
Know Your Endowment
Understanding where the scholarship money comes from and what its earmarked purpose is an important part of scholarship management. Knowing where funds come from, how they are raised, how the endowment is tied to the scholarship and what they expect from scholarship recipients can help scholarship managers select appropriate candidates as well as gain insight on where to advertise the scholarship and let potential recipients know it exists.
Understand How It Is Disbursed And Follow Through
Scholarship managers should also be aware of how scholarship funds are disbursed and to whom they are released. Some scholarships specify payment is to be made to the academic institution while others allow the funds to be given to the student for management. Some scholarships are a one time gift while others are awarded multiple years provided academic courses are successfully completed. Some scholarships must be applied for every year while others renew automatically when academic standards and other set requirements are met. Once a scholarship is awarded, it is up to the fund manager to make sure the disbursement is made and money is directed to the right place.
Timelines And Deadlines
Managing scholarships means being able to work with timelines and deadlines. Announcing the scholarship availability, creating a scholarship review board, allowing time for students to prepare and submit applications, reviewing applications and leaving time for contacting any references or gathering other information necessary to the review process should be taken into account when setting timelines for the scholarship process. Adhere to the timeline you set and hold yourself and your review board to the selection and notification deadlines you set to insure everything is above board and no one feels special considerations or allowances were made for some students. No late submissions, resubmissions or incomplete submissions should be accepted or considered.
Check In With Recipients
Once the scholarship is awarded, staying in contact with the student is a good way to make sure the scholarship is being put to good use and standards for subsequent scholarship awards are being met. Some scholarships require community service, volunteering and other acts of generosity are performed to satisfy award requirements and it is important the scholarship manager stays on top of checking in to see requirements are met. Some scholarships require students to work in a certain geographical area or field of expertise for a number of years after graduating on scholarship and scholarship managers must keep tabs on graduates to make sure those obligations are being fulfilled.
Many scholarships require that academic research is being done to support the mission of the foundation awarding the scholarship. The manager will need to make certain the scholarship recipient is working with qualified, respected experts or mentors on their research and that all scientific methods and standard research procedures are followed. If the scholarship requires a presentation or the publication of research material, the scholarship manager will be responsible for following up with the student to make sure it is scheduled and submitted in a timely manner.
Making a formal education more affordable, scholarships are a great way for students to finance an education and avoid student loan debt. Scholarships offer a financial incentive for students to pursue academic excellence and they serve as a reward for students who have set and achieved goals. Effective scholarship management ensures funds are properly awarded and used, academic standards are upheld and recipient responsibilities are met. Taking on scholarship management duties results in numerous responsibilities but it can be rewarding and fulfilling to see students reach their full potential with help from a scholarship endowment and faculty that supports and believes in them.