By: COURTNEY CATANZARITE
With the ever-increasing cost of higher education, financial aid may be more crucial than ever for some students to make it through college without hefty student loans. At IU South Bend, students have a variety of options when it comes to applying for scholarships.
“Scholarships are an excellent way at helping students reduce loan debt as well as possibly providing an opportunity to lower the number of hours worked each week,” said Malissa Ayala, associate director of financial aid and scholarships. “This may allow for more classroom preparation or more involvement in student clubs, organizations or other activities on campus.”
Student Devin Roach, a 2013 Herbert Presidential Scholar, said, “The application was relatively straightforward, there were a few essays that I needed to write, but none of them needed to be very long, and I basically got a full ride for an application that took me maybe a couple hours to complete.”
Roach is talking about the online scholarship application students can find in their OneStart accounts under “Services and Information.”
“Students can start applying for the scholarship now,” said Cyndi Lang, associate director of financial aid and scholarships. “Some applications require an essay so it’s better to not wait until the last minute,”
Sarah Smeltzer, a student, has received a few scholarships here at IUSB. One allowed her to study abroad.
“I suggest students make sure they fill out all of the essay questions and that they have someone look over their essays to make sure it correctly portrays them,” Smeltzer said. “I definitely recommend other students apply because it really does help and it doesn’t take that much time to fill out the online scholarship application.”
Filling out the application helps students get the right type of scholarship for them. “The Online Scholarship Application eliminates the need for students to figure out what scholarships they are eligible for. Students have the opportunity to expand on their work experience, activities and awards,” Ayala said.
Every year there are scholarship workshops offered on campus that help students through the application process. The dates for next semester’s workshops have not yet been decided.
A few things that students can do to make their application stronger and more likely to stand out, according to Lang, would be doing community service, creating very well-written essays, having a high grade point average and participating in other outside activities.
Students can find how to get to the application at http://www.iusb.edu/scholarships. There is a step-by-step process given that will help students complete the application more efficiently. Students can also see additional scholarships at www.scholarships.iusb.edu. A FAFSA does not need to be completed for some merit-based scholarships.