MRU simplifies scholarship applications
by Nori Sinclair
More than $2.5 million in scholarship money is now only a few clicks away for Mount Royal University students.
In a move that follows five years of gradual improvements from their original paper-based process, Mount Royal’s student awards and financial aid office has streamlined their scholarship applications into a one-time online application with a single deadline, with all scholarships awarded for the fall semester.
“[The process] is as straightforward as we can imagine it now,” said Kristen Chappell, scholarship administrator for the university. Because only 10 per cent of scholarships were actually given out in the winter semester – and only to certain faculties who had chosen to keep that structure – eliminating the winter application has also reduced confusion.
The simplified process also automatically matches awards to eligible students, eliminating the need to read over all the awards offered by the school. For some students, this has reduced the time it takes to apply for awards from two hours to a mere half hour.
With selection criteria that take into account financial need, volunteer work and other factors like being a single parent or having a disability, many scholarships are about much more than GPA. As a result, more Mount Royal students are likely to qualify for awards than they might think, Chappell said.
Information design student Collin Semenoff received multiple scholarships this fall to help fund his second year at Mount Royal. With a high GPA, on-campus volunteer work and a part-time job at a restaurant downtown, Semenoff is like most students – busy. He said that when it comes to scholarships, a little time and effort go a long way.
“People are under the misun-derstanding that it’s a huge endeavour,” Semenoff said. As he points out, two to three hours completing the application could equal as many weeks’ worth of normal employment if you receive a scholarship.
Semenoff has already completed this year’s applications. As an older student, he said that he really sees the advantage of scholarships, which help him to work fewer hours and focus more on school.
Chappell is now focusing on finding even more awards for students to apply for, but her goal is to see every student complete a scholarship application. With a deadline of March 1 and easy access through myMRU, students will have a hard time finding an excuse not to.