Scholarship is a great way to motivate students. But more importantly, scholarships provide financial security to students who seek to keep their loan debt low. Northwest, more than some universities, provides its students with numerous scholarship opportunities.
The Northwest Foundation offers a variety of scholarships to students. The average financial aid awarded to a Northwest student is more than $8,500, and a significant portion of that comes in scholarships.
Incoming students can earn $1,000 for Freshman Merit and $1,500 for A+ Scholarship, according to the school’s financial department website. While many scholarships are available, historically, it has been difficult for students to apply for them particularly the campus and departmental scholarships awarded to returning students.
Prior to this year, students needed a separate application for each different scholarship to which they applied. This required a large amount of time and effort for both students and the staff.
To solve this problem, at the beginning of the 2016 spring semester, Northwest has established a new scholarship application system that makes it easier for students who need financial assistance apply for their scholarships.
Financial Assistance Director Charles Mayfield said the new system is more comprehensive and streamlined.
“This software allowed the school to provide all students with one application to complete,” Mayfield said. “This single application uses skip logic to create a custom application path based on individual student information. Completing one application now allows the student to be considered for all departmental and Foundation scholarships that they qualify for.”
Due to the decentralized nature of the application process in prior years, it is difficult to know how many students previously applied for these scholarships through various departments across campus.
According to Mayfield, in the 2016-17 academic year, the school received more than 950 completed applications before the Feb. 1 application deadline. An additional 600 applications were started, but not submitted.
The new system also provided easier access to the applications for the selection committees, who could easily see what criteria the students met for each different departmental scholarship.
“This new scholarship really helped me as much as it can,” said Chinese international student Jialin Liu. “It was fast and needed very little effort to finish.”
Liu, who was awarded a scholarship, said it will make his life easier.
Since a great number of students applied for scholarships, the odds are fewer that scholarships will go unclaimed, as some scholarships weren’t applied for in previous years.
With the new system, in the instance where criteria for a particular scholarship results in no eligible candidates, the University will work with the person or department funding the scholarship to evaluate other awarding options.
It benefits everyone who uses this software. It not only saves time, but also improves the efficiency. The most important is that is it fair and motivates students to apply. As a consequence, there is no doubt that the new software has contributed a lot to our campus.