Keene State College students may find applying for this year’s endowment scholarships easier than ever.
On Monday, Feb. 5, the Financial Aid Office sent out an email announcing that the 2018-19 Enrollment Gift and Endowment Scholarship application was available for students, and that the essay requirement was removed in order to simplify the process.
“What we’ve done is eliminated the essay requirement and we’ve eliminated the requirement for the applicant to read 88 different descriptions of scholarships and indicate which ones they think they’re eligible for,” Interim Director of Financial Aid Susan Howard said.
The changes occurred after Howard was brought in as interim financial aid director for KSC in early November of this year and was tasked with overhauling the endowed scholarship process by Interim President of KSC Melinda Treadwell.
The current application requires students fill in their name, date of birth, email and KSC identification number. Students must then check off applicable criteria, ranging from being a child of a KSC alumnus to community service participation, before checking off a disclaimer and submitting.
KSC sophomore and biology major Peyton Kopp applied for the scholarship for the first time this year because of the removal of the essay requirement. “It was easy, I didn’t have to write an essay,” she said.
Junior and computer science major Kole Nunley hasn’t yet applied for this year’s Endowment Scholarship but plans to. However, he said he has doubts about the changes.
“Now I hear that they’re getting rid of the essay and that makes me wonder what they’re basing the selection on… I’m sure they’ve justified why they got rid of it, but just going based on my intuition, I say they should leave it or replace it with some other metric of judging who’s the best candidate,” Nunley said.
Kopp also wasn’t entirely sold on the essay requirement being eliminated. “Maybe a short answer, but not an essay,” she said.
Howard said that for some applicants, an essay isn’t totally out of the question.“Very few of the 88 scholarships require an essay… those couple of scholarships that do have an essay requirement could be part of another process,” she said.
Howard explained that the first process starts now and will have its awards given out, ideally, before the fall bills are issued.
“There’s a second process that’s called the spring awards, and that’s when academic departments are involved in selecting students to receive usually fairly small amounts of money that are major-based entirely,” Howard said. “They decided to move those essay-based scholarships to that process because most of those do require an essay; students will find out about that in a different way.”
The change appears to have succeeded in its purpose already; Howard says she was informed of 300 applications submitted within the first few days, which is already more than half the amount of last year’s total of 500 submissions. “I think a simpler application makes sense. We have access to most of the data we need in order to make these decisions, which are GPA, financial need, major, home state, year in college,” Howard said.
The 2018-19 applications are open for three months unlike last year’s two, beginning in February and ending in April.
Vincent Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org