Spring: the season for scholarships

Abbey Stirgwolt

Warmer months often mean looming financial aid deadlines


Credit: Adam Griffiths

Spring is the time for students to start thinking green.

While in Northeast Ohio that might not necessarily mean foliage, it can apply to finances.

Sylvia Bustard, assistant director of Kent State’s Student Financial Aid office, said spring is a common time for scholarship applications to be due. The Student Financial Aid office constantly receives applications from agencies to post scholarships on its Web site, she said.

“We receive applications from outside agencies daily,” she said, adding that the Student Financial Aid Web site is updated consistently to keep up with each application it receives.

In addition to searching for outside scholarships, students can perform “one-stop-shopping” for Kent State scholarships using the scholarship qualifier on the SFA Web site, www.sfa.kent.edu/scholarships.

“The Kent State scholarship qualifier differs from outside Web sites in that it’s Kent State specific,” Bustard said.

To fill out the qualifier, students simply visit the SFA Web site and fill out information such as major, year, background and interests. The qualifier will search a database of more than 800 Kent State scholarships and display for students what scholarships they qualify for, as well as contact information they can use to learn more about each scholarship and acquire an application.

Freshman exploratory major Shannon Stefl, who received an academic grant from the university, said she had never heard of the site before and would be interested in using it to apply for additional scholarships.

“I didn’t know there was a site where you could plug in your information like that to find (Kent State) scholarships,” she said.

Sophomore Brooke Russell, a human development and psychology major, also said she thinks the scholarship qualifier would be helpful. Russell said she is currently not receiving any sort of financial aid.

“I have like a million loans,” she said. “I’m going to apply for (a scholarship) next year. I have to.”

Even after filling out the qualifier once, it never hurts to check back to keep up with the database’s frequent updates, Bustard said.

“I would recommend for students to check the Kent State scholarship qualifier every other week,” she said. “Usually, the Kent State scholarships are pretty constant.”

Another tip for students who want to get an edge on scholarship applications: It may require a bit more work, but filling out applications that require essays can pay off – literally.

“A lot of scholarships that require an essay, most students avoid,” Bustard said. “Those are the scholarships that most students aren’t applying for.”

Writing a professional scholarship essay doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as students are willing to follow directions, Bustard said. The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a scholarship essay?

“Actually address the question being asked,” Bustard said, adding that one of the biggest problems students have with essays is not staying on topic. A few other scholarship essay hints she offered:

• Follow directions.

• Check grammar and spelling.

• Meet minimum and/or maximum length requirements.

• Be clear and concise.

Contact features editor Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].

10 non-Kent State scholarship search web sites











For more information about these and Kent State interdepartmental scholarships, visit www.sfa.kent.edu/scholarships.asp.

Source: Student Financial Aid Web site.