Student Financial Services last month unveiled a new online platform called AcademicWorks for matching students with scholarships.
Students can log onto the AcademicWorks website using their myACU username and password and complete a questionnaire with specific questions to match them with appropriate endowed and departmental scholarships. The system also pulls information from Banner, such as GPA, majors and concentrations, to narrow down the scholarships that may apply to the person looking.
Because departments on campus and donors for endowed scholarships may have specific qualifications and restrictions for their scholarships, said Lori Herrick, director of Student Financial Services, it can sometimes be difficult to find students for these scholarships. The questions that students answer on AcademicWorks help the university match students to these scholarships. In addition, different departments can have their own specific application, and in the past, Herrick said, those applications were completely separate from applications for endowed scholarships from donors.
“With this new program,” she said, “what we’re trying to do is merge all of that so the students basically have a one-stop shop. They may have to fill out a couple of different applications depending on what their major is, but it’s all in one place.”
Several benefits come with the new program, Herrick said. For one, it’s more transparent than the way the university has done it in the past because it allows students to easily see the scholarships they are applying for.
“This whole system is also going to allow us to be better stewards for the donors,” Herrick said. When students are notified through the system that they will be awarded a scholarship, they must complete a thank-you note before they actually receive the award, she said. With the program, the donors will get more information about the students who receive their scholarships along with updates about the scholarship itself.
Herrick said as of this week 257 students have completed the online questionnaire and been matched to scholarships they can then apply for. She expects about 500 or 600 more to complete by the April 1 deadline. While AcademicWorks is open to any continuing student, the majority of scholarships in the system are for undergraduate students.
The office had been looking for a program to use to help students find scholarships for a while, Herrick said. Eventually, it came down to two providers, and AcademicWorks won. It was more robust than the other program and was able to do everything they wanted, not only for the students but also for the donors, she said. Herrick and her team worked in tandem with the university’s stewardship team to get the program off the ground.
To complete the questionnaire and be matched to scholarships, go to acu.academicworks.com.