Enjoy this guest post from my friend and colleague Brooke Grimes at Academic Works:
Last year, we spent a lot of time bridging the gap between financial aid and donor relations to improve communication throughout the scholarship process. In order to help these two groups work in harmony, it was important for everyone involved in the scholarship process to understand who was involved at each step and who the real “owner” was for each step. As we talked to universities completing this process, we received a number of questions about how other colleges and universities operate.
Another popular inquiry pertained to creating a centralized scholarship office on campus. The sole purpose of this office would be to assist in executing the scholarship process and ensuring that scholarship dollars are fully utilized. Clients questioned whether it was worth having an entire office dedicated to this purpose.
So, we sent out a survey asking hundreds of scholarship professionals what their process looks like! Here is a sneak peek of just a few of the hundreds of statistics provided in the results.
· 91% of colleges have more than one department involved in advertising scholarship opportunities to students.
· 51% of schools place financial aid in charge of notifying students of scholarship awards and then pass this information to donor relations to collect thank-you letters. In most cases, donor relations will complete the remainder of the donor stewardship process.
· 43% of colleges and universities have a centralized scholarship office.
The complete results of this survey are on our website so anyone who wishes has the opportunity to check out what others are doing. The results from this survey are beneficial for all types of colleges with varying levels of complexity, regardless of what the scholarship process looks like or what technology is being implemented.
As we sifted through the survey results, we found some key takeaways based on survey data and additional insights provided by survey respondents.
Develop an understanding of the process and who plays a role in each part. It is a great idea to meet with key stakeholders from various campus units to map out who plays a part in awarding scholarships and to outline their tasks and responsibilities.
Openly communicate to everyone on campus. With so many people involved in scholarship management, it is important to maintain an open line of communication. This means communicating about the scholarship process itself, but also providing frequent updates throughout the scholarship cycle.
Improve the use of newer technologies. Survey results showed that those campuses with a scholarship team or task force only meet a few times a year. The implementation of functional technology plays a large role in keeping everyone informed between those meetings.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to 2017. Cheers to new and exciting challenges in the coming year. You can keep up with all my content by subscribing to our blog and checking out the resources section of our website!
Cheers and thanks to Brooke!