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Simplifying Scholarship Renewal Procedures

Better application management of scholarships, grants, awards, and more.

Simplifying Scholarship Renewal Procedures

If you’ve been a scholarship program administrator for a while, you already know that scholarships play a huge role in higher education. Thousands upon thousands of students apply for scholarships each semester to help offset the rising cost of college. Recipients of these coveted awards then look forward to each scholarship renewal period in the hopes they can continue their education without worrying about the fees for their classes, books, housing, etc.

The unfortunate reality is, scholarship management can be difficult. As a scholarship manager or administrator, you keep track of deadlines, documents, eligibility, and much more. The scholarship renewal process can be confusing for everyone involved.

Scholarship renewal procedures must be put in place to simplify the process for both your administrative team and your scholarship recipients. Otherwise, things can spiral out of control fast! Below, we’re breaking it all down in the hopes of making your next scholarship renewal season just a little bit easier.

Understanding the Scholarship Renewal Process

What needs to be in place for a scholarship recipient to renew their award?

Most scholarship awards require students to meet specific criteria to remain eligible for their scholarship renewal. The specific criteria will depend on each scholarship. Your eligibility criteria might include GPA, the amount of hours taken, number of community service hours completed, etc.

A common requirement is for your applicants to be enrolled full-time to be eligible for renewal. Many scholarships also include GPA requirements - meaning students must maintain a given GPA (commonly 2.5 or 3.0) to maintain their awards.

In most if not all cases, recipients must also complete all required documentation and renewal forms to maintain their scholarships.

Where do scholarship managers come into play?

It’s your job to ensure each student has met their required criteria for each scholarship they’re awarded. You also ensure each student has submitted all required documentation and forms. This sounds like a huge task to manage mechanically. We highly recommend simplifying this process by digitizing as much of it as possible with software such as SmarterSelect.

Key stakeholders like your donors will also play a large role in the renewal process as they will be providing the funds for successful renewals. Maintaining good relationships with your stakeholders is crucial if you’re dependent on them to also renew their financial commitments when it’s time to cut new checks for each scholarship renewal.

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What does streamlining scholarship renewal procedures look like?

As we mentioned a moment ago, we highly recommend digitizing your renewal process to create a smoother experience for everyone involved. Putting all of your documentation, applications, correspondence, etc… in one digital platform will keep you and your team from having to search for the criteria, documentation, and eligibility requirements. SmarterSelect offers comprehensive, user-friendly scholarship management software to reduce the heavy workload for you.

We make it easy to:

-- correspond with your recipients, review committees, etc.

-- send out notices that it’s time to renew

-- collect all documentation

-- quickly sift through your documents to confirm eligibility for renewal

-- and so much more!

Whether your criteria requirements include GPA, the amount of credit hours taken, documentation, or renewal paperwork, SmarterSelect streamlines all the systems and processes of your scholarship program. Every aspect of our software was designed to save you time and effort.

Providing Clear Communication

Clear, open communication is the best type of communication. Providing applicants and stakeholders with transparent information is crucial throughout the scholarship renewal process. A lack of communication can translate into a lack of trust in your institution and/or create frustrated applicants and stakeholders.

Lacking clear communication could also confuse recipients on what they’re required to submit, which could lead to them missing out on renewing their scholarships. Your recipients are likely heavily reliant on these scholarships to be renewed, so make it as easy to retain their scholarships as possible.

Clearly define things like renewal deadlines and requirements (GPA, hours enrolled, classes taken, etc.

Streamlining communication of requirements, and the delivery of renewal paperwork will ensure all students and stakeholders receive key information in a timely manner. This will help the current recipients properly prepare and plan for their renewal procedures. Keeping your stakeholders in the loop is also helpful so they know when to be prepared to submit their funding for any scholarships that are approved to be renewed.

Offering Support and Guidance

People tend to feel more comfortable and encouraged when they receive guidance and support. As such, scholarship managers and/or administrators should be prepared to offer support and guidance to students who are working through the scholarship renewal process. This will look like providing them with clear communication, offering resources and guidance where applicable.

Since there may be a lot of criteria and documentation that goes into scholarship renewal, any help you can provide might reduce intimidation and stress for your current recipients. Show them your support by assisting them along the way. This will boost your scholarship program’s reputation and trust.

Utilizing Reminder Systems

Reminders can be incredibly helpful for current recipients during this process and technology can be such a gift when we use it to our advantage. Automate reminders to be sent to students to notify them of upcoming criteria deadlines. This will further support them in their efforts to renew their scholarships and can minimize the risk of students missing out on renewal.

When providing reminders, we recommend including a variety of communications. For example, instead of just sending a single email, you could send correspondence via text message as well as via the postal service. Sending multiple digital reminders is also a good idea as your scholarship renewal period gets closer.

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Verification procedures include verifying that students met their required criteria and eligibility to renew their scholarships. This could mean their GPA, hours taken, and any other academic/professional criteria will need to be verified before they are granted renewal. We understand that this is a lot of information to keep track of. When you use SmarterSelect, it’s much easier to keep all the moving parts of your applications in one place. We also make it easy to automate verification through simple rules such as confirming a GPA matches your program requirements.

Ensuring Compliance and Transparency

As scholarship managers and administrators, it’s critical to practice compliance with renewal policies and regulations. Failure to comply could strip your institution of its status and privileges, along with negatively impacting your reputation and trust among scholarship recipients and stakeholders.

Providing transparency regarding renewal criteria and decision-making is essential. This will look like ensuring all recipients have the proper information in a timely manner. This will also look like providing denied recipients with information that explains explicitly why their scholarship was not renewed.

Monitoring and Reporting

Monitoring and reporting play a major role in scholarship renewal procedures. It’s good practice to establish mechanisms to monitor renewal activities and track progress. With SmarterSelect, you can easily generate reports to evaluate renewal rates and identify areas for improvement.

Continuous Improvement and Feedback

Gathering feedback from recipients and stakeholders, and then using that feedback to make improvements, is highly important for your institution. Encourage feedback to identify challenges in the current processes and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

There’s always room for improvement in any process, and by gathering feedback and making changes, you’re proving to both recipients and stakeholders that you take their concerns seriously. This will further boost the reputation and trust of your scholarship program.

Ready to simplify your scholarship renewal procedures? Click here to schedule a demo of SmarterSelect to see how easy your job can be!


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