Out of 23 million students expected to enroll in college in 2022, only 7% will receive scholarships, forcing many to amass student loans of $30,000 on average to pay for college. Fortunately, the number of scholarships is expected to increase thanks to the ease and accessibility of digital scholarships.
However, more scholarships mean more work for reviewers in an already short application review cycle. So how can scholarship providers and reviewers cope up with this? Let’s find out.
5 Ways to Reduce the Time & Cost of Reviewing Scholarships
Digital scholarships, when hosted on the right platform, also provide a streamlined application experience to applicants who become more likely to correctly fill their applications. It is one of the many things that have improved with scholarships going digital. However, the scholarship review process lags behind.
One of the things donors and scholarship providers can do to ensure more underprivileged students get timely scholarships to finance their education is to reduce the time and cost of reviewing scholarships.
Here is a list of best practices and strategies scholarship providers can adopt to increase efficiency in reviewing scholarships:
1. Use a Single (Secure) Platform for Managing All Applications
There are numerous tools and services available for scholarship and grant management today – and while having multiple choices is good for consumers, scholarship providers should look for a unified scholarship management platform that can manage all the different aspects of the application (demographic information, document submission, etc.).
Using multiple tools complicates the workflow, is more expensive (third-party licensing), and is not ideal for collaboration.
Ideally, scholarship providers should use a platform that not only caters to students, but also to reviewers and counselors. Some scholarship management software even has a suite of features dedicated to parents. Additionally, this also means that all data is in one place, reducing the need for multiple access control and disaster recovery (backup and restore) policies.
2. Use Pre-Application Eligibility Checks
A pre-application eligibility check allows applicants to know immediately if they qualify for the scholarship. This ensures that only applications that meet the minimum requirements proceed to the reviewers for a second-level check.
Pre-application eligibility checks help save time upfront for the applicants and the donors. Reviewers are then able to focus on a pool of applicants that meets the minimum standards, instead of trying to weed out those who don’t qualify at all.
3. Connect with Students Digitally
The target recipient of scholarships today spends most of their time online. Connecting with them digitally or through email is the fastest means of communicating with them. Any crucial information regarding the scholarship can be sent directly to students within minutes via email, while you may have to wait days or weeks before getting a reply through traditional mail.
Not only is email communication faster, but also comes at virtually no expense, allowing donors to cut down on costs.
4. Introduce Automation
With proper marketing. scholarship funds can get thousands of applicants in just a few months. While that’s great for the success of the scholarship, it can be a nightmare for administrators, and especially for reviewers. Introducing automation into the process ensures everyone, from the donors to the applicants to the reviewers and even to the administrative team, is kept abreast of the current status of the scholarship.
As students are completing their applications, they can get instant feedback on wrong and missing information, receive reminders; and follow up notifications of the success of their application at the different review levels.
For instance, with document automation, the reviewer does not have to manage and sort through multiple documents per student. By setting up automation rules, files can automatically be archived, shared between reviewers, or sent back to the student/counselor in case of missing information.
Automation moves the applications through the various review levels without human intervention, reducing the possibility of bottlenecks and the cost of administration.
5. Timely Notifications
Timely notifications to reviewers go a long way in ensuring they stay on track to meet the deadline. Periodic notifications to remind them of their pending reviews or the timeline for the scholarship will help all the stakeholders know what is required and when.
Once an application has moved to the next level or been rejected, an automatic notification can be sent to the applicant. Prompt notifications concerning the status of their application will help reduce the stress of a tense situation for students and allow them to look elsewhere should things not work out.
Scholarship review involves various people, different functions, and multiple stages – staying on top of all of this is a big ask from reviewers and frankly, unnecessary when there is plenty of technology that helps scholarship reviewers appraise applications and provide feedback automatically, both to the scholarship administrator and the applicant. Automatic and timely notifications ensure that everyone is kept in the loop.
How Scholar’s App Helps Scholarship Reviewers
Digitalization has been a welcome introduction to the educational sector. Among its many benefits, it has led to the increase in the availability and easier administration of online scholarships, not just for donors and applicants but for reviewers as well.
Scholarship reviewers are saddled with other responsibilities and with a digital scholarship management platform, they can significantly reduce the time and cost of reviewing scholarship applications, while also better preparing themselves for the future.
Scholar’s App is an all-in-one platform for providing and managing scholarships. Scholarship funds and individual donors using Scholar’s App receive 2x the amount of qualified and completed applications than they did before, at much lower costs, thanks to an intuitive user interface that makes it easier for students to find the right scholarship.
Easily post your scholarship listing, and let Scholar’s App create a customized application form. Using the specified criteria, we only display your listing to qualified candidates who can then apply online.
Scholar’s App markets to tens of thousands of students and counselors, who are verified before they can join our network. We handle both digital and traditional marketing campaigns for your scholarship.
Scholar’s App uses a comprehensive system to match scholarships with qualified students. We also ensure applications are submitted with essays, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and any other documents that may be part of your particular application process.
Collaborate With Your Review Committee Online
Scholar’s App offers a central dashboard where donors and reviewers can conduct the scoring process together