USG, UGS to ramp up efforts in promoting outside funding opportunities

Anastazia Vanisko, Staff Reporter

It’s no secret that Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) undergraduate students tend to leave college with a higher amount of debt than those attending other options. However, university administration took notice of this, and as part of an initiative to create awareness about outside scholarships and funding opportunities, Undergraduate Studies (UGS) will soon begin advertising a financial resource database called Pivot. The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) is set to assist in this effort.

Part of Assistant Dean of UGS Scott Hardy’s job is to work with students looking to apply for various fellowships and scholarships. Even though he only began working at CWRU this year, Hardy quickly noticed the need for change in how students are informed about the available financial opportunities.

An important first step involved revamping the Undergraduate Studies website. Students had difficulty navigating the old setup, but within the past three months, UGS officials have updated the site so that students can more easily find the scholarships page. Links to this updated site will appear on the International Studies and Financial Aid pages as well, since this information surprisingly could not be found at these locations.

Hardy feels that it is important to create greater awareness about outside scholarship opportunities. His goal is to “create a culture where students are more informed about scholarships and fellowships and more willing to apply.”

Undergraduate Student Government members also look to advertise outside money available to CWRU students. Working with the Financial Aid office, representative Anjana Rao, a sophomore who sits on USG’s academic affairs committee, found that CWRU already subscribes to Pivot, a site with over 17,000 links to possible monetary opportunities.

On the Undergraduate Studies scholarship page there is a link to Pivot, which is used mostly as a tool to fund research. CWRU has subscribed to the database since 2012, and to its predecessor beforehand. Currently, Pivot has between 400 and 450 subscribers, most of which are academic institutions.

According to Rao, even Financial Aid didn’t know about Pivot for a time. Rao said it made USG’s involvement easier by allowing them to work with Financial Aid immediately. Otherwise, they would have had to focus on establishing a website themselves first.

USG intends to revive a Twitter account formerly used as Financial Aid’s source of outside scholarship information as a new advertising tool, in addition to including information in the USG newsletter.

While the efforts are a start, it’s hard to pinpoint how much of the information will actually reach students. A significant portion of the campus community doesn’t read the USG newsletter or check Twitter.

Furthermore, while many steps must be taken to promote outside scholarships, little is done to encourage students to actually apply for them.

However, Hardy mentioned that he sometimes runs queries in SIS to find students that match certain scholarships, and sends them emails letting them know a specific scholarship is available.