Success Story: UCSB Improves Award Distribution and Donor Relations With ScholarshipUniverse

 

It’s no secret that cost and financial aid are at the top of every student’s mind when it comes to higher education. Affordability plays a major role in the decision to enroll at a particular institution over another; or to pursue a degree at all. With student financial success top-of-mind for families and financial aid departments, the University of California, Santa Barbara partnered with CampusLogic to find a solution that would set their scholarship process up to do more for students.  

 

Launching Into ScholarshipUniverse  

 

In any financial aid office, the goal is to match as many eligible students with university and external scholarship opportunities as possible. The UCSB Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships realized they could do so much more by implementing the right tools. We talked to Scholarships and Donor Relations Manager, Jessica Trumble, to learn more about why UCSB decided to integrate the ScholarshipUniverse platform into the process and how it’s impacting student financial success.  

 

Trumble began her role at UCSB with a specific goal in mind—vet and launch a scholarship tool to enhance the need-based scholarship process. The university was no stranger to CampusLogicbeing an early adopter of StudentFormsCampusLogic’s flagship solution to create efficiencies for students within their financial aid journey. “We already trusted the CampusLogic team, especially when it came to student data,” Trumble shared. Prior to implementing ScholarshipUniverse, UCSB was running their entire scholarship through Excel spreadsheets and an Access database. This was a cumbersome system that the financial aid team realized was outdated and presented challenges that prevented student processing from being efficient. Inputting each of the 75 scholarships the university offered into Excel was admittedly time consuming. When it comes to financial aid, time really is money. ScholarshipUniverse saved Trumble that precious time when it came to uploading scholarships.  

 

"The process of importing scholarships was so fast and so easy.” 

 

UCSB needed a tool that modernized, sped up, and smoothed out every facet of scholarship awards. With built-in capability to process thank-you letters to donors from awarded students, and personalized student access to vetted external scholarships, ScholarshipUniverse checked all the boxes and more.  

 

Prioritizing The Student Experience  

 

ScholarshipUniverse was designed with students in mind. The platform is built to house everything they need to apply for internal and vetted external scholarship opportunities. The best part: the guesswork is gone. ScholarshipUniverse automatically matches student profiles with opportunities for which they meet the criteria. That means UCSB students are matched with more scholarships and they can spend less time hunting for award dollars needed to close financial gaps. Concurrently, financial aid staff spend less time doing this work manually, and more actually advising and helping students achieve financial success. 

 

Students at UCSB reported applying to over 800 external scholarships through the platform. A scholarship one-stop-shop, ScholarshipUniverse streamlines the search, and students can work on applications anywhere, at any time.    

 

Matching qualified students with scholarship opportunities means that award money never goes unused, when there are eligible applicants. A cumbersome, consuming task for UCSB has been matching students with a particular institutional scholarship that requires the financial aid office to collect documentation confirming eligibility prior to awarding. Trumble said, “Identifying eligible students for this award has always been a headache, and disseminating the required form and then collecting it again proved to be an annual challenge.” During the 2019-20 financial aid year, Trumble’s office was only able to award renewals of the scholarship, noting a lack of newly identified students. This year, ScholarshipUniverse changed that, “The system proactively identified eligible students and we were able to create a quick and easy standalone application which allowed students to start working on the documentation as soon as they were matched with the scholarship.”   

 

According to Trumble, one of the biggest benefits for UCSB was rapid student adoption. “They really understood the tool and were ready to use it right away.” Even as the university moved to remote status, the financial aid team was able to leverage a number of mass student emails to yield over 9,000 unique student logins and over 2,200 student applications for the 40 of the 75 scholarships offered through the university.  

 

 

 

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