The City Wire takes a deeper look at how the intricate world of college scholarships works.
Millions of dollars flow through institutions of higher education each year allowing students from every walk of life to attend a college or university.
Some schools are endowed with scholarships with very specific criteria. For example, the University of Arkansas has a scholarship for students orphaned before the age of 18. The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has money for someone placing in the 98th percentile on the SAT.
How do schools make sure this money gets routed to qualified applicants?
Most colleges and universities use a single, universal scholarship application that gives the student access to any and all institution-based scholarships available.
“We really do not have this problem (of unused scholarships) with the centralized programs because students submit one application that puts them into consideration for all scholarships awarded through that program,” said Wendy Stouffer, executive director of academic scholarships and financial aid at the U of A.
When financial aid applications are received, officials look for all possible matches to the student.
“We comb our database of students to see if they fit any criteria,” said Alan Pixley, director of financial aid at University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. “Freshmen are automatically considered for scholarships when they apply and are accepted for admission. We match our scholarships to the students.”
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