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Why you need a scholarship management system

First-generation Vietnamese university graduate, Tuyen Tram, might never have gone to the university, let alone get a second degree without the aid of scholarships. Speaking with Western Carolina University stories, she said, “I was really excited that I was awarded a scholarship with a big enough amount to allow me to move on campus at the time. It’s changed my life both academically and personally.”

Tuyen is one of the millions of people worldwide that scholarships have given a better chance to flourish in life. Given the colossal role scholarships play in the lives of recipients, it is crucial to manage them appropriately, ensure the application process is accessible to all qualified, and the scholarships awarded to the worthiest applicants. Now, this is much more complex than it sounds.

Thankfully, scholarship lifecycle management technology is here to save the day. ‘Do you need a scholarship management system?’ you might wonder. Yes, you do, and here is why.

6 advantages of using a scholarship management system

 

 

  1. . Maximum student experience

    According to the Education Data Initiative, over 1.7 million scholarships are awarded annually. With the massive amount of scholarship opportunities available to students, you are competing with many educational institutions and scholarship-awarding bodies for the best applicants. Meanwhile, given the vast array of options available and the fact they are applying for several, most students no longer settle for subpar scholarships or scholarship programs with complicated and siloed application processes.

    One of the best ways to stand out competitively is by offering students a streamlined scholarship application medium that is clean and appealing, easy to understand, and navigate, both on mobile devices and PCs.

  2. Increased Administrator Efficiency

     

    Your office might have moved far past the use of papers, envelopes, and rows of filing cabinets, but have you embraced real innovation, or are you still feeling stuck with dated technologies? Heaps of emails, rows of spreadsheets, complicated databases, and hundreds of online folders.

    If this sounds familiar, your admission and scholarship application season is not only stressful for students but also for the application management officers. They must set application criteria, evaluate applications, communicate feedback to the applicants, calculate and track the awards amidst other duties in between. These labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks usually involve the need to go back and forth between numerous systems and human contact points to access the information they need to do their jobs. But there is a better way to boost application management efficiency.

    Scholarship management technology helps you collect and manage all the application documents, data, and decisions in a secure, centralized system. Within the same platform, diverse users can access needed data from anywhere and at any time. And since countless processes are automated, the possibility of human errors is reduced while also allowing the staff to focus on the few tasks that genuinely require their attention. Of course, back-and-forth communication between the administrators and the applicants is also made much easier. For instance, an automated reminder could be sent to an applicant and their reference about a delayed recommendation letter.

  3.  Effective Application Evaluation

     

    There are numerous types of scholarships, with the most popular ones being academic merit, identity and background-based, athletic, extracurricular activities, and need-based scholarships. Each type of scholarship comes with its eligibility and evaluation requirements. After meeting the eligibility requirements and spending precious hours working on the application, it is only fitting that all applicants are evaluated fairly, and the scholarship is awarded to the worthiest recipient(s).

    With the introduction of scholarship management technology, you can automate the initial aspect of the evaluation process to vet qualified applicants. Your team can collaboratively conduct blind reviews and evaluate students solely based on the quality of their applications to ensure neutrality and fairness. You can also automate the rankings and tallies of the reviewed applications to select the best amongst the best during the final decision-making. Likewise, automated risk indicators can pinpoint the possibility of graduation of the would-be scholarship recipients, ensuring that the scholarships do not end up wasted.

  4. Access to Wider Applicant Pool

     

    Students spend so much time scouring through the internet for scholarships, but if your program is neither visible nor accessible online, how would they find it let alone apply? By simply having your scholarship program hosted on an accessible and appealing online platform, you widen your applicant pool by a great deal. More students are likely to come across it and share it with their family, friends, and acquaintances. There is also a higher chance that websites focused on students and scholarships would pick it up and share it with their audiences. No doubt, as your applicant pool widens, your access to a larger number of talented and diverse applicants also increases.

    Also, mobile-friendliness needs to be reiterated. In an age whereby students are online 24/7 and primarily through their mobile, setting up your scholarship on a mobile-friendly system encourages your potential applicants to peruse the information you have provided and possibly act on it. If they can apply for your scholarship whenever and wherever, through their phones and tablets, that is even better.

  5.  Inclusive and Diversified Recipient Coverage

    From the health sector to the IT sector, down to the media sector, the damaging impact of the lack of inclusion and diversity has been pointed out and severely criticized. Thankfully, this has been a well-talked-about topic in recent times. In a 2016 research publication released by the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, the U.S. Department of Education, titled Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education, inclusion and diversity-centric scholarships were pointed out as one of the means of closing the gap.

    With a scholarship management system, you can easily monitor the applicants’ representation data and see to it that your recipients are as inclusive and diversified as they can be without compromise on fairness. The applicants can include different information about them and you will be able to review it based on identities such as gender, nationality, disability, and LGBT status. In fact, your data on this could prompt you to market your scholarship program to underrepresented countries and communities.

  6.  Data-Driven Insight

    The scholarship cycle does not end immediately after applications evaluation and awards disbursement. Ironically, the stage after the scholarship issuance can be incredibly hectic and time-consuming if handled manually. It usually involves big data. The application management team would need to gather data and generate reports on the scholarships disbursed, the applicant reach, as well as the overall effectiveness of the scholarship program. With a scholarship management system, it is easy to pull out data and generate reports since the entire application lifecycle was managed right in the platform and so well documented.

    With just a few clicks, you can access a wide range of trends and figures that would have probably taken a long time to generate if done manually. You can evaluate your office’s administrative performance and pinpoint areas that could have been handled better. Also, in cases whereby the recipients’ scholarships need to be renewed periodically based on performance, the renewal process would not be as complicated as before or could even be automated.

Conclusion

Scholarship application management does not have to be as complicated as it has always been. You can simplify and streamline the process for your office and your would-be applicants. Of course, it would also help you manage your resources better.

In actuality, a scholarship lifecycle management system is more than just an administrative tool. Instead, it is a vital contributor to your scholarship programs and would-be applicants’ success. Are you already considering a scholarships management system? Good. Stay in the loop…

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