No more paper: Summit Foundation and School District partner to take scholarship apps online
Gone are the days of hefty stacks of paper for scholarship applications. Over the last several months, The Summit Foundation has partnered with the Summit County School District to allow high school students to apply for local scholarships online.
“I thought it was really, refreshingly wonderful compared to those piles of paper in the past,” Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “Talk about saving trees — it was amazing the piles and piles of paper students were sending and reviewers were going through.”
This year, local high school students submitted a total of 1,647 applications to more than 70 different community organizations. In 2014, 114 students from Summit High School, Snowy Peaks High School and local home-school students submitted an average of 16 scholarships each.
The Summit Foundation also distributed more than $200,000 in scholarship funds last spring, which students can apply toward any school of their choice.
“We knew that we wanted to put our scholarship application online just for ease of use for the students and reviewers, and we thought, ‘Why not do this with the whole community?’” Summit Foundation program officer Megan Nuttelman said. “The biggest reward was to hear from students how easy it was to use and how it saved them time.”
The project started back in August, with The Summit Foundation demoing different types of software, choosing to work with FluidReview. The Foundation purchased the software and Nuttelman spent several months “building” it, with a page for each scholarship.
“There was a lot of back-end work this year,” she said. “It’s a partnership and the school district was great to work with.”
Now Timi Lawson, with the Summit School District, manages the site.
With this year’s applications under review, scholarships will be presented in just over a month, on April 4.
As a reviewer looking over more than 50 applications, Stiegelmeier said the system worked much more smoothly than the paper days of years past.
“It was so much easier to review. It just worked for everybody,” she said. “Paper piles are really old fashioned.”
She also noted that with the new system, students could no longer submit incomplete applications. In some cases, the cost of printing out and sending in the paper applications cost families as much as $200.
“This was a huge undertaking and The Summit Foundation really considers this a gift to the community, both for scholarship sponsors and students applying,” Summit Foundation marketing manager Elisabeth Lawrence wrote in an email.
“I commend the Summit Foundation for changing it up,” Stiegelmeier added. “I think they have a real winner.”
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