With the approach of the March 1 deadline for most scholarship applications, many MCC students are reaping the benefits of the college’s new online scholarship software.
Launched in November, the program provides applicants with an online, one-stop process to apply for any of MCC’s more than 50 scholarships. The need to increase community-wide awareness of scholarships and financial aid opportunities was among the top goals outlined in MCC’s 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.
“We did it to help streamline the scholarship process for students and staff as well,” explained MCC Dean of Student Services Jean Roberts. “Now students can apply 24/7 and can access their scholarship application from their MyMCC with a single sign on. Before, it was a manual process with a lot of photocopying and very cumbersome. It was decentralized. Sometimes it took months to process the forms. Decisions were not always made in the same office nor shared uniformly.”
“The new on-line tool allows us to centralize the scholarship management process but still decentralize the decision-making process. Committee members now can review scholarship applications online removing the need to meet in person.”
The new Scholarship Manager software greatly streamlines the entire scholarship process from application to award, allowing students to easily see all scholarships for which they are candidates, manage third party recommendations, accept awards, and complete post-award requirements.
Applicants are directed to www.muskegoncc.edu/scholarships and must formally apply to MCC. They are also encouraged to complete their FAFSA before applying for scholarships to increase their opportunities to become candidates for scholarships that require financial need.
“Because of the nightly feed from our student information system to the scholarship software, it reduces the student self-reported data requirements and their information will be in our system and integrated daily,” added Roberts. “We won’t even see an application now unless a student is in the system. It’s real time. It’s mobile friendly.”
“The new software has smart logic, so depending upon students’ yes or no answers to 10 general questions, they will automatically view only those scholarships for which they are eligible. In addition, application workflow automatically shows specialized scholarship applications to eligible students only.”
The software has strong search engines allowing prospective candidates to broadly or selectively search scholarships by their GPA, financial situation, academic interest, and county of residence, for example. Additionally, applicants can have emails sent requesting letters of recommendation and to be notified whether those requests were completed or denied. As some scholarships require essays, the new software allows students to write and update their essays on the site. Transcripts can also be maintained on the site. Also, scholarship donors will be able to view recipient thank you letters, latest news and register for events from the donor portal.
Enthusiastic about its potential, Roberts noted that there’s a learning curve to the new system but quickly added, “When students tested it, they really liked it and had no problems navigating through it. I am very excited about all the positive changes that will come with the new system for both students and staff.”