While scholarships are a great way to get free money for college, finding scholarship money from outside Union College can seem like an impossible search. “There are literally millions of dollars from foundations and corporate scholarships that go unclaimed because students don’t know how to navigate this complex field,” said Lila Cervantes, a financial aid advisor at Union.
As a result, many students don’t look further than the institutional scholarships offered by the college. “They get very discouraged because there are so many resources out there and narrowing down the search is like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Cervantes. “We just want to make it easier for students.” This is why she is thrilled to be the director of the newly launched ScholarshipUniverse program at Union College.
ScholarshipUniverse is software that quickly and easily matches students with outside scholarships, helping them find the “needles in the haystack” without all the frustration and guesswork. Using an in-depth questionnaire, it builds a profile based on the student’s information and interests. It then narrows down the search, sorting through thousands of vetted scholarships to find the ones they are eligible for and that cater to their interests. Now, students can browse available scholarships, apply, and keep track of their applications in one convenient place.
“We are hoping ScholarshipUniverse will help students, so they don’t leave Union with as much student loan debt,” said Cervantes, “That is our ultimate goal: lowering students’ bottom line. School is expensive, and we want to help our students.”
Cervantes is not the only one excited about ScholarshipUniverse. Communications student Annelise Jacobs was one of the first to dive headfirst into the scholarship platform. “I think it is really convenient,” she said. “It was fun to look through, and it gave me a lot of ideas!”
She was impressed with the wide range of topics that catered to her specific interests and passions. “There is definitely something for everyone,” she said. “If students get on there and start applying, I think it will be great because it will provide them with a lot more money on top of the scholarships provided by alumni and friends of the college.”
Cervantes’ message to students is simple: get on ScholarshipUniverse and start finding all the “needles” out there. “There is work involved. But the more you apply, the more chances you have of getting a scholarship!”
Jacobs agrees. “Once you go on the website, then you get the inspiration to do it! You just got to get on in the first place.”
Learn more at ucollege.edu/scholarshipuniverse
Check out this video to see what happened when we introduced ScholarshipUniverse to current Union students.
Story by Hannah Olin, a junior English and communication major from Illinois