New scholarship program eases application process

Alex PalmieriNews Writer

The scholarship foundation program can help students get money that are in need, Heather Rowe said.

“The foundation has over 350 scholarships,” said Rowe, business manager at SCSU. “January 5, we launched a new online software that takes all the scholarships together.”

A student can go into the portal and apply to an online application. Rowe said the requirements for each application are displayed according to their major. The scholarship foundation program is open until March 15, which is the deadline for the FAFSA for the fall semester.

“I’m the business manager for the foundation,” said Rowe. “So, the foundation asked for the application to be more streamline approached because we want to reach more students who are in need.”

From a developmental standpoint, Rowe said the application gives more exposure to the donors to advertise their scholarships. There are pictures along with their bios about each donor who are promoting their advertisement.

Rowe said the scholarship application takes about 30 minutes to apply, and it is pre-filled by the banner system. She said there are different questions to that are scholarship specific that the donors have asked. These different qualifications that donors have asked include a specific GPA, community involvement, or certain activities that a student is enrolled in.

“You can search the scholarships,” said Rowe. “There are 285 advertised; this is just a general number. We only launched January 5, and we already have 1,255 applications. Last year we had about 570 applications, and this is open until March 15.”

Rowe said she hopes 1,500 students end up applying for scholarships before the fall semester. As far as promoting the amount of scholarships that are available by the university, Rowe said it starts with social media.

“The first thing we did was,” said Rowe, “January 5, we used social media. We went to Twitter and Facebook and we got 300 applications on the first day. Then we sent an email blast to students.”

Hernan Zambrano, a senior Spanish major, said he is still in the process of applying for applications because Southern offers a lot of scholarships. He said he hopes he receives some financial help for next semester.

“Southern has a generous amount of scholarships,” said Zambrano. “Therefore, I’m not sure how much I’ll receive; there’s a good chance I’ll receive a good amount.”

Zambrano said the process to apply for scholarships is very simple and online. He said it can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to apply, but he added that it is worth it because of all the financial help a person can receive in return.

“I’m sure with all the promotion and word getting around more and more,” said Zambrano, “eventually hopefully everyone does [apply].”

Doreen Commarata-Gilhuly, assistant director for alumni relations, said she thinks social media made the number of applications increase from last year. Because students were on break when the mass email was sent out, she said students may have had more time to fill it out.

“The email said “Free Money Available,”’ said Commarata-Gilhuly. “It was eye catching to students.”

Commarata-Gilhuly said she encourages all students to apply for scholarships because it will decrease the worry of families that may be paying for education. She added no matter what financial standpoint a student is in, they can always apply for scholarships.

“Students need to realize,” said Commarata-Gilhuly, “though they’re receiving financial aid, the scholarships can reduce their financial aid and their student loans. They need to understand that.”


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