Grand Valley State University


  • Allendale, Michigan
  • Enrollment of 24, 600
  • Number of Funds: 300
  • AcademicWorks Customer Since 2013

Challenge: Prior to implementing AcademicWorks, Grand Valley State University sought a solution to provide transparency and visibility into the awarding process and to make scholarships more accessible to students.

Transparency into the scholarship process was a challenge Grand Valley State University was looking to overcome. Without a centralized scholarship process there was little visibility into how students were being awarded. “I spent a lot of time emailing different scholarship committees to find the names of award recipients,” said Erika Wallace, Associate Director of Scholarships and Outreach at Grand Valley State University. “The only information I was receiving for each scholarship was the award recipients name. Getting further qualification information was always a challenge.”

The school’s previous decentralized process sent students traveling between departments and offices in search of scholarship opportunities. With varying deadlines and paper applications, students quickly grew frustrated with the process and many stopped applying all together. “Finding support on campus to implement a scholarship management solution was easy because improving the student experience was always at the center of the project,” said Wallace.

Solution: After considering several different options for scholarship management solutions, Grand Valley State University chose AcademicWorks because of the flexibility and transparency available with the product. “AcademicWorks really understood the problems we were facing,” said Wallace, “they had the strongest product but also proved to have a team dedicated to solving our current problems and providing solutions to problems well into the future, ” stated Wallace.

Grand Valley State University utilized AcademicWorks to simplify the scholarship process for both students and scholarship administrators. Student are now able to apply for multiple scholarships using a single application on the school’s “My Scholarships” website. The AcademicWorks system has also simplified the process for scholarship administrators.

The implementation of AcademicWorks also helped foster added collaboration between the Financial Aid and Advancement offices. Both offices are able to preview how different criteria effects the number of eligible applicants, making it easy to decide if criteria provided by donors will be too restrictive. “At the Financial Aid Office, I am able to easily access all award recipients and view their qualifications for each award,” said Wallace. “I spend less time tracking down administrative details of a scholarship because I have real time access to all of the information I need.

Result: In the most recent scholarship cycle, Grand Valley State University saw an 86% increase in scholarship applications. Having a single website makes it easy to promote scholarships during campus events and with marketing materials. It is very clear that there is an increased awareness about scholarships on campus. “It is so rewarding when we talk to students about scholarships and they already know about the site and have submitted applications,” stated Wallace.