Summary of a Scholarship Start-up
CALS Scholarships: Application, Awarding, Publicizing
Section 1: CALS Students - The Scholarship Application Process
Students wishing to receive scholarships from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) must annually apply for scholarships through their student center using the on-line application found at scholarships.wisc.edu. The application cycle annually runs from early November through early February. The scholarships awarded from the application cycle are for the following academic year. Awards will be allocated in two cycles, one in mid-March and one in mid-April. These awards are for disbursement for the following academic year.
By filling out one application, CALS applicants are considered for all scholarships CALS has to offer. Last year, over 1800 CALS students applied for scholarships using the on-line application and over 700 awards were made totaling over 1 million dollars in aid to students.
If a student wishes to be considered for scholarships with a need component, they must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once the student has completed the FAFSA, the student can indicate to which institution(s) Financial Aid Office they would like the information shared. Only information relevant to the scholarship process is included in the student ISIS profile for the scholarship administrator.
Section 2: CALS Administration – The Awarding Process
Once the CALS application has closed, information from the student on-line application as well as student data from the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS) creates over 100 fields of data for the student-scholarship matching process. A spreadsheet consisting of the information from the application and ISIS information is created to allow for efficient sorting and filtering for each award that is given while always considering each individual donor’s awarding criteria. The CALS Scholarship Director along with various CALS faculty and staff make the final award selections.
Students are matched to scholarships based upon their application information and donors’ awarding criteria. The order in which the sorting and filtering is done is based upon the donor’s criteria and does not look the same for each scholarship being offered. Some common donor criteria include: GPA (either UW Madison or High School for incoming freshmen), ACT, Financial Need (FAFSA information required), Major, Year in School, Activity Level (leadership vs participation), and Career Interest. Some scholarships ask recipients to be from rural areas. Currently, there are ways to screen for this information.
In addition, some scholarships are considered Departmental Scholarships in which the department has been made the spending authority for the fund. The CALS Department can inform the CALS scholarship Director which awards they would like to grant to their students and in what amounts in accordance with the donor’s scholarship criteria. These scholarship funds are still administered through Scholarships@UW-Madison.
Section 3: CALS Scholarships - The Publicizing Process
CALS publicizes awards that we offer through Scholarships@UW-Madison on the webpage: http://scholarships.wisc.edu/Scholarships/org?orgId=124. The public website allows students, parents, and donors to see information posted on over 200 scholarships CALS has to offer. We also send out emails to all of our students letting them know when the CALS application is open. We send out reminders at least two to three times during the application cycle.
There are donors who only wish to have us publicize the information pertaining to their award. This information is not posted on the Scholarships@UW-Madison public website. We can help publicize awards we do not administer in the following ways.
CALS has a website for “Scholarships from Outside CALS” which can be found at: http://www.cals.wisc.edu/outsidescholarships/. The website lists the scholarship opportunities by name, amount, and submission deadlines. If a contact for the scholarship is provided, that information can be listed as well. Some of the scholarships have a link that will take the student directly from the CALS website to the scholarship source website and may even provide an application if it is available on line. The student completes the application and forwards it either electronically or by hard copy to the respective organization. Donors’ applications vary. Some require background information on the student including Major, GPA, unofficial transcript, year in school, personal statement, etc.
CALS can also publicize appropriate scholarship opportunities on our eCALS for Students on-line newsletter if requested. Students are made aware of the CALS scholarship application cycle on this newsletter as well.
Section 4: CALS Scholarships - Award Announcement Process
Once an award has been created, an award announcement is sent to students via email to their campus email account. The student must read through the offer and accept or decline the award. If a student accepts the award offered, they must complete a thank you note to the donor following the directions on the “Thank You Note Guidelines” document provided to them in their offer. Thank you notes are screened in our office for content and quality. Students must also complete an on-line UW Foundation profile document which provides further personal information about the student’s relationship with CALS and UW-Madison.
Students are not given checks directly. After their full-time enrollment in CALS is verified, award information is sent to the Bursar’s Office and the Office of Student Financial Aid. The award amount is posted to the students’ account and comes off of the students’ tuition and fees for attendance. The award is paid in two equal installments, half in the fall semester and half in the spring semester. Enrollment verification is done for the spring semester as well. Students must remain in CALS, in good academic and non-academic standing, in order to receive their award each semester.