Scholarship management varies widely across MSU departments. Some scholarships are described on websites and some are not. Some require applications, while others do not. Overall these differences make the process difficult for prospective and current students to understand what is available and how to go about seeking those that are. In addition to student confusion, the manual effort required of staff to identify recipient candidates and make awards and track spending means that sometimes dollars are not used as the donor intended. Nothing is worse than hearing from a donor who wants to know why his or her scholarship wasn’t given out.
The capital campaigns and generosity of our donors nearly have tripled available scholarships over the last 10 years, resulting in significantly increased work for all MSU units that administer them. At the same time, the number of students searching for these scholarships has increased as they attempt to minimize their debt at graduation.
To meet these needs, we have licensed AcademicWorks (https://www.academicworks.com/) as a complete scholarship and endowment management solution for the university. This application provides a secure, central location for all gift information, as well as student candidate information and will even match candidates to awards automatically if the administering unit desires. The system also will integrate into the Admissions and Financial Aid systems, providing more automated processing along with more robust reporting capabilities for the entire campus. Implementing this enterprise tool will help us keep up with the growth, maintain data at a university level, and track analytics to aid in decision-making.
AcademicWorks is being branded as MSU Scholarships for our purposes and will launch in November 2017, starting with 10 pilot units: the College of Music, College of Natural Science (partial), College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Business (partial), Graduate School, Honors College, Office of Admissions, Office of Financial Aid, Office of Treasury and Financial Management, and University Advancement. There will be a phased approach over the next several years to incorporate all units that manage endowed scholarship funds. During the first phase of implementation, project team members will be reaching out to unit administrators with instructions on how to be included in the next phase of the project. For updates on the current status of AcademicWorks at MSU, visit https://bolderit.msu.edu/projects/students.
Assistant Director of Scholarship Administration
Office of Financial Aid | University Scholarships & Fellowships
Executive Director, Office of Financial Aid