Carmen Nugent (left) and Cindy Roberts (right) worked together to implement the Iowa Scholarship Portal tool.

A new tool adopted by the University of Iowa will make it easier for students to find and apply for scholarships across campus.

The Iowa Scholarship Portal—which is available to current and incoming undergraduate students—pairs student data from MAUI and scholarship opportunities in one central site.

With the clack of a few keys, students now have the ability to log into the portal and immediately scroll through which scholarships they’re eligible for based on the academic accomplishments, major, and other student-record information associated with their Hawk ID.

Brent Gage, associate vice president for enrollment management, says the portal will improve both the student and staff experience when it comes to the application and review process. 

“Before the portal, students needed to go to various university websites to track down scholarship opportunities, and many were difficult to find without assistance,” says Gage. “We weren’t dispersing donor money intended to make education affordable for college students simply because our students couldn’t track down all of the applications.”

Though the tool is currently accessible to students as part of a soft launch, it does not yet contain every scholarship available to undergraduate students. The scholarships are being added to the portal on a rolling basis. So far, select scholarships for the College of Nursing, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, Tippie College of Business, Office of Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid have been added for this year’s cycle.

Cindy Roberts, coordinator for Office of Admissions scholarship programs, and Carmen Nugent, administrative enrollment services specialist, will continue to reach out to other campus units during summer 2016 in order to expand undergraduate scholarship listings for the 2017–18 academic year.

The new tool is also expected to save staff time by cutting down on the number of applications from students who don’t meet the qualifications.

“The bulk of scholarship applications that colleges or departments receive are from students who don’t meet the requirements, so you’re still reviewing all that paper, you’re going through all of those applications, and the students are doing all that work with no hope of getting that scholarship,” Gage says. “What used to take weeks of staff time now happens in an overnight production load, and it’s done.”

The Iowa Scholarship Portal automatically matches students with scholarships they’re qualified for. There are also additional scholarships in the tool that require students to submit more information to verify their eligibility. After applying, the portal notifies students if they’ve received an award and prompts them to send a thank you note to the donor.

“It gives donors an opportunity to hear about how their money is helping students succeed,” Gage says.

The portal is also useful from an administrative standpoint because it allows department heads to view the amount of scholarship money they’ve dispersed and re-evaluate qualifications for scholarships if they aren’t getting enough qualified applicants.

Ultimately, Gage says, this program will help make scholarships more accessible to students with the greatest financial need.

“Often, the student who is able to take the time to do the research and game the system to track down all the awards they’re eligible for is not the student who has the most need,” Gage says. “The Iowa Scholarship Portal will help us direct donor dollars to students who need it most.”

Nugent says thousands of students have already accessed the system within the first few months of its going live.

Students interested in using the Iowa Scholarship Portal can access the tool here: scholarships.uiowa.edu.


FAQ

What is the timeline for adding scholarships to the portal?

The scholarships are being added to the portal on a rolling basis. 

Cindy Roberts, coordinator for Office of Admissions scholarship programs, and Carmen Nugent, administrative enrollment services specialist, will continue to reach out to other campus units during summer 2016 in order to expand undergraduate scholarship listings for the 2017–18 academic year.