Internal and external scholarship dollars play a crucial role in helping students close funding gaps—but the scholarship journey has historically been complicated and convoluted for students to navigate. It hasn’t been an easy path for financial aid and scholarship office staff either, who are often doing their best to manage millions of dollars in funding through spreadsheets and other manual approaches. With 10+ years of experience in the scholarship space, ranging from 2006 to 2018, I’m passionate about how we as an industry can make everything easier for staff and students. In this blog post, the second of a six-part series, I cover the one-stop shop concept. You can find part 1 here, for background on the 10 major points of scholarship friction.
The concept of a one-stop shop was born in the early part of the 20th-century. It was a business model that promised the shopper convenience; the ability to “Have it all done in one place. Save your time. Save your money.” Examples of this today, Walmart or Target: groceries, clothing, home goods, fishing rods, tire rotations, they’ve got them all.
Rise of the One-Stop Shop
Single-business one-stop shops grew to be collections of stores with off-street parking with the same goal. Put a bunch of things people need in one area and make it easy for them to do all their errands in one stop. Big box stores and shopping malls came soon after; get whatever you need or want under a single roof. A pinnacle was reached—or so we thought—with the building of the largest mall ever: "The Mall of America." Once a monument to the concept of one-stop shop, today it’s a relic.
The one-stop shop lives on, just not in a brick and mortar way—one-stop shops expanded online. It’s a tech-obsessed world, one where convenience rules. Most stores have an e-commerce site, but I’m willing to bet most of us often head to Amazon.com, eBay, or Walmart to do a lot of our shopping. One place, many things, at the click of a button, right to your doorstep.
But people want more than physical products, we want purpose and meaning in life. To figure it out we constantly seek content and information—all of it. We want every song, movie, TV show, news blast, article and book ever created. And we want it all right now. Sites like Spotify, Audible, YouTube, and Netflix meet us 24/7.
A Scholarship One-Stop Shop: The Spotify of Scholarships
It's unbelievable that students today can access any song in the world at a moment’s notice, but struggle to find scholarship opportunities. Closing funding gaps keeps students enrolled—makes the dream of achieving higher education attainable. Right now, many students can’t even access both external scholarships and scholarships from their own institution in one location. The days of students flipping through thick stacks of scholarship binders should be far behind most everyone by now, but we haven't quite caught up with the times. Google—the one-stop shop for getting information—returned 683 million results when we queried “scholarships.” Where would you even start with results like that? Students need a Spotify for scholarships. They need a one-stop shop.
Staff & Students Deserve a Scholarship One-Stop Shop
We should also apply the concept of a one-stop shop to all tasks that come with scholarship management. When staff can manage scholarships, applications, review committees, awarding, thank you letters, student data and reporting in one place, the time savings and efficiencies are enormous pay-offs. When students can match to relevant opportunities, only must populate their information once, have one spot to check into the status of all their applications, and know nothing in the shop is a scam, they feel empowered and in control.
Convenience matters. Because we want what we want when we want it. ScholarshipUniverse is the ultimate scholarship one-stop shop for both your students and staff. And it’s more important to them than Spotify. Trust me.