Originally written for publishing on March 14, 2013.
The Fullerton College Foundation’s new scholarship application process, which opened March 1st, attracted more than 140 students in its first day online. With the Foundation awarding more than $250,000 in scholarships before the end of the semester, they hope this new application will increase the quantity and quality of students.
The biggest change to the scholarship process, aside from making the online application more user friendly, is a system that matches the student up with the scholarships that they fit the requirements for.
“With the new system, any student who applies for a scholarship with a division or department or with the foundation will now be considered for all 270 of our scholarships,” said Charles Allen, Executive Director for the Foundation.
With the new application launching without major problems, the Foundation staff’s goals is to get more students applying. During previous years, the Foundation typically receives between 700 and 800 applications a year. Yet this is only a tiny percentage of the roughly 20,000 students enrolled.
Foundation office manager Lindsay Gatica thinks more students should look to the Foundation as an alternative to student loans.
“It’s free money,” said Gatica. “A lot of students get into debt with student loans and don’t realize this is free money that you don’t have to pay back.”
Gatica also stressed that not all of the scholarships are based on merit. Many scholarships are based on the financial need of the student. Each of the 270 scholarships has different criteria depending on the person or organization that funds it.
“We have a donor that honors his math teacher that inspired him and there is a scholarship in her name,” said Nissa Newton, development manager for the Foundation.
There are also scholarships sponsored by the Fullerton faculty in honor of their deceased colleagues. This year, Southern California Edison will be awarding 25 scholarships for science, technology, engineering and math students. There are also many scholarships handed out by the different departments on campus.
“Everyone should apply,” said Nissa Newton. “There might be a scholarship that is made just for you.”
With the online application now up and running, the Foundation staff can turn their attention to getting more students applying. Typically, only about 50 percent of the applications that are started online get completed.
To help increase that number, the Foundation is holding workshops to walk students through the application. The next scholarship workshop is scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Ben Franklin conference room. There is also one next Tuesday in the DSS lab, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
The biggest goal of the Foundation staff is making everyone more aware of the resources available to students.
“We have been giving scholarships for over 53 years,” Newton said. “The main thing is letting the community know that lots of successes happen here.”