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Scholarship applications fluctuate

While Student Affairs saw the number of applicants for its scholarships double, other departments have seen application numbers remain steady or decrease.

Student Affairs offers four scholarships and usually receives 20 applications, said Steve Kremer, a Student Affairs graduate assistant and member of the Student Affairs scholarship review committee.

Student Affairs received 40 applications this year.

“We put out a lot of notifications, so that may have paid dividends,” Kremer said.

This year’s increased publicity included two notices in Campus Updates, he said.

Kremer believes getting the word out made the difference. Eligibility requirements have not changed, and Kremer did not think there was a larger pool of qualified potential applicants.

Meanwhile, applications for scholarships in the Journalism and Public Relations Department have gone down, especially during the past two years, said Nancy Brendlinger, associate professor in the department.

Currier Scholarship applications have gone down in particular, with there sometimes being zero applicants for the rising junior scholarship.

The students receiving scholarships are still “good winners,” Brendlinger said, but they face less competition. Only one person applied for the rising senior Currier Scholarship this year. In the past, there might be six or seven applicants and about half would be interviewed in order to select a recipient.

Brendlinger said she hasn’t heard from students about why they aren’t applying. It’s possible that they may not want to write essays or find references, but students have not confirmed that to her.

“I’m just flummoxed,” she said. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

Other departments have reported that scholarship application numbers are about the same. Deb McLean, executive assistant in the biology department, said applications last year were down, but “not significantly.” Numbers returned to normal this year.

Applications for the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Scholarship have remained steady, said Sandra Faulkner, director of the program.

With different numbers of scholarships being offered each year, it can be difficult to compare application numbers year-to-year, said Jasmine Schulz, executive assistant to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Another issue is that the number of applications submitted can be larger than the number of applicants who are actually eligible for the scholarship, Schulz said. Some applicants may not meet the GPA requirement, for example.

Despite those difficulties, Schulz has noticed some certainties. One is a “downward trend” in applications for scholarships requiring an essay.

The essay requirements haven’t changed, however, Schulz said, so she isn’t sure why that is.

“I have not received any feedback from students,” she said.

For freshman Alana Marsh, previous experience with not winning scholarships she applied for has discouraged her from applying for more. She has applied for about 15 in the past year, most of them this past semester.

“I don’t really want to waste my time again,” Marsh said. “But it’s worth it if you get them.”

Coming from a middle class background, junior Megan Wilhelm feels she doesn’t have as many scholarship opportunities as some students.

“Personally for me it’s harder to get scholarships,” she said. “I think that kind of discourages me.”

It’s frustrating to see less competition for scholarships, Schulz said, but another certainty is the quality of students who receive them has not decreased.

“It’s not difficult to find a deserving student for many of our scholarships,” she said.

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