Scholarship funds disrupted

Staff turnover delays the process of endowed scholarships

There may soon be light at the end of the tunnel for students who applied for Endowed Scholarships at Keene State College this past year and still haven’t heard back.

Students have been waiting a long time to hear the results of their applications. KSC senior Megan Weltler said she had not heard anything since the summer. “My mother emailed them and they told her in August that it should be a couple weeks,” Weltler said. She added she needs to hear about her scholarships because, “There’s a tuition payment coming up, so that would be really, really stress-relieving.”

Luke Sweeney / Equinox Staff

Luke Sweeney / Equinox Staff

Over 600 applications for Endowed Scholarships were sent in during the application period of March first through April first. According to the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Steven Goetsch, there is usually a Financial Aid Scholarship Committee; however, there was also some turnover in financial aid staff. Also, a new interim director of financial aid was recently hired. “She has 40 years of experience… she’s helping find a permanent director,” said Goetsch.

KSC alumna Sarah Chase, who had previously worked on the committee but left to attend graduate school, was asked by Goetsch to briefly return and help review the applications and award the scholarships. “The overall process of awarding scholarships may seem quite easy, however, before I can award an endowed scholarship to a student, I must review numerous amounts of criteria,” said Chase.

Goetsch explained that Endowed Scholarships are set up by donors using a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Goetsch said the use of MOUs “allows donors to prescribe how the scholarship is awarded.”

When Chase reviews applications, she said she must consider their grade point average (GPA), major, financial information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and read each individual essay to make sure the student meets the requirements set by the donors.

Although the task of awarding scholarships may be time-consuming, Chase said, “I applaud students who try to find any outlet which will help them finance their education.”

Goetsch and staff members in the Financial Aid Office sent an e-mail to students on Oct. 27, which said, “The Financial Aid Office has been working diligently on awarding the Endowed Scholarships to qualifying students. Within the next several weeks, we will be concluding the process.”

Goetsch estimated, “about 90 or 95 percent have been awarded by now.” He also said the goal is to have all of the scholarships awarded by the end of next week.

When Weltler heard that she could receive her scholarship shortly, she said she was excited, but added, “I heard that a while ago; I’m skeptical.”

KSC junior Abbey Hoye said she was glad that the issue is being resolved, but said, “I wish that the checks could have come sooner… it’s frustrating that the application says they will be rewarded over the summer and then no one heard anything until October.”

Goetsch encourages students to check their emails and the Financial Aid website for updates on the scholarships.

Abbygail Vasas can be contacted at avasas@kscequinox.com

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