Problem: Managing Departmental Awards Processes via Spreadsheets
Auburn University manages 2,100 scholarship funds and awards more than 10,000 scholarships from an applicant pool of over 13,700. To accomplish this, Auburn has a team of 35 scholarship administrators to manage almost 350 faculty and staff members on more than 75 scholarship committees.
Yet, because scholarship administrators were using traditional paper applications and spreadsheets and had limited access to student records, they struggled to manage review committees and awarding processes. Matching incoming students to scholarships required creating hundreds of individual spreadsheets and over a month of 50- to 60-hour workweeks for the staff in the scholarship office.
“Most scholarship decisions are made within individual departments, so my office had to review and sometimes change decisions to make sure that they complied with fund requirements and appropriately fit into a student’s overall aid package,” said Velda Rooker, Director of University Scholarships at Auburn University.
In addition, finding qualified applicants for funds with restrictive criteria was challenging if not impossible. This meant funds sometimes went unutilized.
AcademicWorks Offers Flexible Control for Individual Colleges
Auburn chose AcademicWorks because it offered flexible control for individual colleges and was easy to use for all. With AcademicWorks, Auburn’s colleges and departments have role-appropriate access to all of their scholarship opportunities. Administrators can sort and filter a prequalified list of applicants along with any key information required to make better award decisions. As scholarships are awarded, they are imported back into Banner via an automated process. The system allows donor recognition to occur much faster through electronic reminders and thank-you letter submissions.
More Time Spent Helping Current and Prospective Students
The Office of University Scholarships is now able to package scholarships more effectively, while better spending their time working directly with prospective and current students. As Rooker explains, “The implementation of AcademicWorks has eliminated the need for spreadsheets and shortened the award process to just two weeks.”’
Students also love the AcademicWorks system. Instead of completing multiple application forms, which often required redundant information, students now complete a single application. They are also confident that they will be considered for all the scholarships for which they are eligible. As a result, the colleges and departments have seen an increase in applications, allowing more qualified students to receive scholarships.
Rooker believes Auburn University made a great decision implementing AcademicWorks, saying, “AcademicWorks was the only solution that offered the flexibility to accommodate all of the unique requirements associated with awarding scholarships campus-wide, particularly at a large institution.”
Simplify Scholarship Management
Auburn University scholarship staff and students used AcademicWorks to greatly simplify their award processes. Please contact the AcademicWorks team to see how we can help your campus improve its scholarship management system.