Streamlining the scholarship system

The K-State Scholarship Network helps students find funds fast

“The KSN makes for a better and more financially supportive K-State by making scholarships and financial aid more accessible and realistic for all students” — Keaton Whetzal

My experience with KSN has been nothing but positive, and I feel very fortunate that K-State offers a one-stop shop for applying for scholarships. … By offering this tool, K-State provides its students opportunities toward a more financially secure future.” — Kendra Marstall

By Ariana Brancato

When applying for scholarships in the past, Keaton Whetzal, a junior studying human development and family sciences and financial counseling, was typically met with a multitude of detailed applications. Despite needing the financial support of scholarships, Keaton did not feel that receiving sufficient scholarships would be possible based on the application process. Although Keaton started her continuing student scholarship application in the K-State Scholarship Network (KSN) with a bit of skepticism, the process took her by surprise.

“Filling out scholarship applications before the KSN was a very tedious, time-consuming task. As a student in the middle of the school year, I just did not know how it would be feasible for me to fill out all of these applications to scholarships separately though I very much needed them,” said Keaton. “Regardless, I decided to give the KSN application a try to see what it was like. My perspective quickly shifted as I found that the KSN was completely different than anything that I had come across previously.”

After filling out the general application, then continuing to the College of Health and Human Sciences application, Keaton was awarded the 2021-2022 Raymond and Geneva Dobbins Scholarship. The KSN system was able to utilize her specific major, interests and involvements to match her to an applicable scholarship. Keaton was able to hear back about what scholarships she was awarded just a few weeks after she submitted the application, receiving the financial aid to her KSIS account quickly.

“The KSN makes for a better and more financially supportive K-State by making scholarships and financial aid more accessible and realistic for all students,” said Keaton. “I cannot even begin to explain how much these scholarships make a difference, easing some of that financial burden as well as making going to and paying for school that much less intimidating.”

The KSN works by pulling data, such as grade point average, major, hometown or financial need, from the student’s database, called their KSIS account. This up-to-date information helps match awarding criteria for different scholarships with qualifying attributes from the student’s profile. With the advancements of the KSN, new students only have to answer 20 questions with 10 additional questions for returning students for the general application.

The matching technology and centralized platform were key benefits in the scholarship application process for Kendra Marstall, a senior kinesiology and French double-major. For the 2021-2022 school year, Kendra is the recipient of the Johnston (Wilma D.) Modern Language Award, the Ice Family Kinesiology Scholarship, both awarded through her specific college application, and the Swan/Vanier Family Scholarship and the Heritage Award, awarded through the general application.

“My experience with KSN has been nothing but positive, and I feel very fortunate that K-State offers a one-stop shop for applying for scholarships,” said Kendra. “It is an intuitive tool that is well-organized, walking you through step-by-step how to fill out the different required areas. By offering this tool, K-State provides its students opportunities toward a more financially secure future.”

The KSN creates a collaboration between the Kansas State University Foundation and the university. Each foundation fund has preset qualifications, such as GPA or major, which are then connected to students who meet the criteria for that specific scholarship. The advanced technology monitors units that have not yet made awards to ensure that students receive the full amount of scholarship money available each year. Christy Scott, senior director of compliance services at the Kansas State University Foundation, says, “As the University continues to improve and streamline their entire scholarship awarding processes, we believe KSN gives us an advantage. We can set awarding timelines that work for the entire university and move these deadlines such that returning students can know what their entire awarding package is going to be before they leave campus in the spring. We know that this could have a tremendous impact on improving our retention numbers while reducing the stress that students have regarding their financial needs for the fall.”

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