Tuition fees play a major role in the college decision process for high school graduates and their families. In a 2021 survey 4 out of 10 high school students rate the cost as the “most important” factor in picking which college to attend. The rising cost of higher education is turning college into a luxury, forcing high school seniors to reassess their educational goals.
For instance, in the 2019-2020 academic year, American families spent an average of $30,017 on tuition and college fees. Scholarships and grants covered between 19 – 25% of that amount, leaving parents and students to finance the remaining through income, savings, and loans. To put the financial burden of this into perspective, the median household income for American families in 2020 was only $67,521. This is a huge financial undertaking for a two-income family with college-age children. It’s not surprising then, that the average college graduate borrows around $29,927 for a four-year degree.
As it stands, a good education is rapidly becoming a luxury item, affordable only to the elite. Thankfully, a more accessible type of scholarship is making providing financial aid much faster and easier.
The Impact of Digitalization on Scholarship Funds
Digitalization has had a positive impact in nearly every industry it has come into contact with, and educational philanthropy is no exception. It has enabled donors who have a desire to support the scholastic goals of others to do so with little hassle or inconvenience. The increase in the number of scholarships available not only allows for more award winners but also means that recipients are more likely to:
- Enroll in a 4-year college
- Pursue a Bachelor’s degree
- Enroll at a private non-profit college
- Enroll at an out-of-state college
- Finish their Bachelor’s degree program
With digital scholarships, those with the financial means can easily support underprivileged students’ educational goals. More scholarships result in more enrollments which will ultimately result in more graduates and a more educated America. But that’s not it, with scholarships, recipients have access to higher quality education and the ability to afford a higher standard of living than they would otherwise – all of which contributes to their ability to study and make a difference.
Digitalization makes that possible because of:
Low Barriers to Entry for Donors
A scholarship does not need to be in the tens of thousands for it to be meaningful to a student in need. With digitalization, an online scholarship can also be a much smaller, one-time award.
Part of the reason why most traditional scholarships require a minimum budget of $20,000 is because of the high operational costs. A digital or paperless scholarship helps overcome unnecessary paperwork, collaboration challenges, and administrative overhead that increases costs and even slows down scholarship programs.
Online Scholarships are Easier to Find
Digital scholarships are easier to find online. With Google and especially with scholarship platforms, applicants can access information on hundreds of different scholarships, quickly and easily. Once the details of the scholarship are added, the online scholarship platform can match the fund with eligible students and enable them to apply directly.
More Qualified Applicants
For participants, digital scholarships are easier to apply to, and for scholarship providers (donors), they are easy to review. Scholarship platforms enable donors to create custom applications to find their ideal candidates. Donors can also leverage AI-based systems to pre-select candidates who qualify and reduce review time.
Instead of reviewing hundreds of applications from people who do and do not qualify, reviewers can solely focus on qualified applicants. This will reduce the time between the scholarship deadline and when it is awarded.
Social media has done a lot to reduce the cost of promotion and advertisement of products and services. As such, the promotion and advertisement of digital scholarships can be greatly reduced or even free. Promotion on free social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and LinkedIn can help the scholarship reach a wider audience than perhaps some more expensive options.
Efficient Scholarship Management
A digital scholarship also helps lower the cost of administration. A paperless application process reduces the need for admin staff and also reduces turnaround time for review. With online scholarships, donors can also take a more data-driven approach to awarding scholarships. Powerful monitoring enables them to easily access the statistics of the applicants, know how many have applied, are qualified, where applicants are facing problems, and how the review process (and the program itself) can be improved further.
For instance, Scholar’s App helps scholarship funds and individual donors with:
- Advice on setting up the scholarship
- The setup and administration of the scholarship
- Marketing and promotion
- Selection and funds disbursement
Becoming Digital with Scholar’s App
In 2022, a projected 23.7 million students will enroll in college. Unfortunately, only 7% of students are likely to receive a scholarship. Without access to funds, many cannot fulfill their educational goals. And as a society, we cannot allow education to become too expensive for the average person.
Thankfully, helping students through the provision of scholarships has never been easier (and more needed) than it is today – especially with Scholar’s App.
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
Now that you’ve learned the benefits of creating a fully digital scholarship, here is a five-step checklist that will help you get started.