Updates to GV scholarship website meant to help student experience


GVL / Aida Dennis

Ashley Moubray, Staff Writer

University students pursuing degrees often face significant financial stress when paying for tuition, housing, food and other expenses.

In an effort to alleviate this stress, Grand Valley State University offers many ways for students to apply for scholarships and relieve costs associated with a college education.

One way to explore scholarships is through GVSU’s myScholarships system.

This year, GVSU has made several changes to the myScholarships site. One change is a scholarship-matching resource featuring both internal and external opportunities. By answering a few questions on the website, students can navigate through a number of available scholarships personally tailored to their needs and interests.

“Currently, students can access both Grand Valley scholarships and external scholarships within the upgraded system,” said Associate Director of Scholarships Samantha Mulder. “Before, (myScholarships) was two separate databases that we’ve combined into one.”

Mulder said the new system protects students from illegitimate external websites through a company called Scholarship Universe which acts as a safety net. If a website proves untrustworthy, then it won’t appear in the myScholarships database.

“These external scholarships are fully vetted to make sure that they are legitimate, that they are not asking students for information they shouldn’t be asking for,” Mulder said. 

The Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships upgraded the system in order to better serve the GVSU community. myScholarships also personalizes the application process by having students answer profile questions.

Students using the site can expect to answer questions regarding their personal interests, community service, hobbies, intended enrollment, student status and other topics.

“It also pulls information from myBanner,” Mulder said. “It filters down all of those scholarship options to show just the ones that students would be eligible for.”

The scholarship office looked to not only change the myScholarships website, but to provide answers to questions on their website so that students can look to better understand scholarships at GVSU.

“We’ve included a lot more information on our website this year to help,” said Scholarships Graduate Assistant Reagan Holek. “We’ve added a new section about the scholarship matching steps and timelines, myScholarships frequently asked questions, scholarship tips, resources and a section including our scholarship workshop dates and times.”

After roughly a year and a half of planning, the new system opened to students on Nov. 1, exactly one month after FAFSA’s open date. This way students have time to file their FAFSA well before they work on and submit myScholarships applications. 

“There are scholarships that require students to show financial need or to have FAFSA on file,” Mulder said. “In order to give students time to file their FAFSA, we wanted to extend the open date. That’s going to help them better match with scholarships as well.”

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships said that errors often occurred in the old system that made the application process difficult, frustrating and confusing. The staff is excited to now offer students a resource that could maximize their scholarship eligibility. 

“Being able to offer all that to students in one place is something that really attracted us to doing this upgrade,” Mulder said. “We were really looking at the total student experience.”

GVSU students and families have responded positively to the myScholarship website. In comparison to the old system, myScholarships now provides students with a simpler, more straightforward application process. 

“I think something that myScholarships is really good at is making us aware of the number of scholarships that students can get,” said GVSU sophomore Bridie Tolley. “Even though it is a time-consuming process, I think it has its effectiveness. Asking us questions that apply to us that can generate scholarships catered toward our involvement and needs is really smart.” 

Both Mulder and Holek encourage students to utilize other GVSU resources while applying for scholarships such as the writing and career centers on campus. These centers can help students write essays, short answer questions and resumes.