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Scouting for scholarships

Inefficient scholarship system makes seeking financial help frustrating

Nadiyah Suleiman, Page Editor

March 15 is rapidly approaching, meaning that students get to begin the frantic search for scholarships and the tedious process of procuring financial aid. For poor, struggling college students, scholarships have the potential to help ease the financial burden of paying for tuition, textbooks and, in some cases housing; however, the search for scholarships can be maddeningly difficult and unnecessarily frustrating.

Now, through the TWU Pioneer Scholarship System, students can input their information into a general application which then pulls up a list of scholarships that that particular student qualifies for. In theory, this sounds wonderfully simple – press a few buttons, and up pops a personalized list of scholarships. The problem with this system is that the list of scholarships it provides is incomplete.

When first arriving at TWU, I was baffled by – what I thought was – the lack of scholarships at the university. Inputting my information into TWU’s Scholarship System gave me a maximum of eight scholarships that I qualified for. At first, I thought I was just under-qualified, but I really applied myself to my classes and hoped for a longer list next year. When the same list came up, I decided to do some research. What I found both shocked and thrilled me.

I counted at least 250 scholarships that students can apply for at TWU, not including help provided by TWU’s two honors programs. Students are eligible to apply for scholarships within the TWU Former Student Association and TWU Foundation Corporation, each with a long list of endowments and scholarships. I had never even heard of these two groups until my mentor and advisor encouraged me to apply, and it makes me wonder how many students just blindly accept the list the Scholarship System gives them. Besides the FSA and TWU Foundation Corporation, TWU also offers departmental scholarships, general academic scholarships and departmental honor societies’ scholarships.

With so many great options for students to apply for, it’s a wonder that TWU doesn’t do a better job at promoting their scholarships. TWU has the right idea with the Pioneer Scholarship System, but without all of the scholarships listed, its use can be limited. To be fair, for the scholarships listed, the system is very-well organized and provides a simple and easy way to apply for financial help; however, groups of scholarships located in different areas around the TWU website go unadvertised and unnoticed.

That being said, I understand that each organization has different requirements for its scholarships, which is perfectly fine. I am by no means suggesting that all scholarships should conform to a standard application or similar requirements, nor am I saying that students shouldn’t have to work hard to receive scholarships. It would be nice, however, to have all scholarships listed in one, convenient place to eliminate missed opportunities and wasted time spent searching for scholarships. And, yes, it is up to the students to persevere and commit to finding scholarships, but wouldn’t their time be better spent writing quality scholarship essays or catching up on their never-ending pile of schoolwork rather than spending hours scouring the web for scholarships haphazardly hidden throughout the TWU website?

Life and college is already difficult enough without the added stress of worrying that you’ve somehow missed a vital scholarship – one that could be the difference between you dropping out or managing another semester – because it was placed under Endowments on the Office of University
Advancement page instead of on the Pioneer Scholarship System.

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