Best Practices

Getting Your Data Ready for Scholarship Software

Amaan Badruddin
Jan 5 2024
4 min read

Overview

For colleges and universities getting ready to take their scholarship management to the next level with software, the first step in the journey is data readiness. Spending time upfront to make sure your scholarship data is accurate and comprehensive is key to a smooth and masterful scholarship process.

In this article, I'm going to outline the two necessary and two optional types of data that you should be thinking about as you're getting your scholarship data ready.

Scholarship Data (in Detail)

This is required, obviously. You're going to want a comprehensive list, often compiled in excel or multiple files, with the following information:

  • List of scholarship names
  • Donor criteria for each (including restrictions and preferences)
  • Amount budgeted for spending in the current / upcoming term
  • Any minimum or maximum award amounts per student
  • Any guidance on number of students to award per term
  • Renewability guidelines (can it be renewed? how often? is there different renewal criteria?)
  • Should there be a separate application for certain scholarships? (Not sure? Awarded will help you design your application process for maximum student engagement)
  • Do certain reviewers or reviewer groups need to review certain scholarships? How many reviews per application?
  • What deadlines are important to keep in mind for each scholarship (consider deadlines for the application, review, award and follow-up or thank you process)?

Student Data

The second required dataset is student data. Now, some of our clients, oftentimes those that sit in the college or university foundation, are unable to get authorization for Awarded to integrate with their SIS (Student Information System). This is rare, but if this is your situation, reach out and we can talk through how we adjust our application design to account for this. However, in 95% of cases, Awarded collaborates with your institution's IT team to setup an automated, nightly SFTP export of student data from your SIS, whether it's Banner, Colleague, Workday, Jenzabar, PeopleSoft or a homegrown solution. These are usually 20-30 attributes about your students, including but not limited to:

  • Student name & ID
  • Contact information (email + phone number)
  • Academics (GPA, degree type(s), major(s), minor(s), enrolled credit hours, etc.)
  • Financial context

Note: Awarded also requests information sharing consent from students via FERPA waiver or otherwise, and ensures this data is always private and secure. This data helps us ensure the right students are getting the right scholarship matches, while also reducing the friction for students, since we can eliminate asking students to answer redundant questions.

Historical Data

An optional dataset to share with us during setup is any historical data you have on your scholarship process. During training, Awarded will review your historical data and provide you with a report and presentation regarding your opportunities and risks, which allows us to start with a data-driven and objective assessment of the facts. Data here might consist of:

  • Fund utilization over time (how much of available funds were spent vs. not)
  • Growth in scholarship fund count and total over time
  • Growth in donor fund count and total over time
  • Number and average size of student award recipients over time, segmented by attribute (by demographics, class year, academics, financial context, etc.)
  • Historical application and thank you note completion rates of students
  • Number and timeliness of donor stewardship reports
  • Qualitative feedback from all stakeholders: students, staff, donors

Donor Data

Finally, an export from your Donor CRM is optional, including mappings between donor names and scholarship funds. This data is most useful for our stewardship features. For example, having donor data in Awarded allows us to auto-fill beautiful and personalized fund and impact reports, thousands at a time for your donors. It also helps you track scholarship progress and updates by donor - not just by scholarship.

How Awarded Simplifies Your Journey

At Awarded, we understand the challenges of setting up new software. That's why our highly structured, accelerated onboarding process is designed to guide you every step of the way. We take on the heavy lifting by loading all your data, with checkpoints to ensure validity. This approach eliminates the hard and manual work typically associated with software setup, allowing your team to focus on what matters most—empowering students through scholarships.

The Awarded Advantage

  • Efficiency: We streamline data integration, saving you time and effort.
  • Accuracy: Our checkpoints ensure data validity, minimizing errors.
  • Support: Our team offers continuous guidance throughout the onboarding process.

Conclusion

The journey of integrating scholarship software is a path toward efficiency and empowerment. With Awarded, you're not just adopting new software; you're gaining a trusted partner that helps you evolve your scholarship program. By preparing your data and partnering with us, you open doors to a world where scholarship management is no longer a task but actually feels as thrilling as it deserves to feel.

Are you ready to take the first step towards this transformation?

Amaan Badruddin
Jan 5 2024
4 min read