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Scholarship Management: 4 Benefits of Replacing Your Outdated System with a Software Solution

by Emily Sugrue

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way that scholarship management professionals work, from efficiently delivering funding to students, to connecting with stakeholders and tracking the progress of funding. Trying to manage all these aspects of scholarship management while remote or hybrid working requires scrapping all manual and paper processes, and replacing them with a digital application. Making the leap from decentralized data to an integrated all-in-one platform can provide easy access for anyone in your team to real-time data and valuable insights, benefiting both your organization and its stakeholders.

Struggles Currently Faced by Scholarship Administrators

  • Inflexible in-house systems

Many organizations had to build their own in-house solution in order to alleviate their manual processes and adapt to changes brought about by the pandemic. Some organizations outsourced this process, while others turned to their IT team to build a custom scholarship management application. Both solutions would then have to be maintained and supported internally. 

With adopting an in-house system, any small change means additional costs or overburdening your IT team with these tasks. This can really limit the efficiency of an organization, and force it to manage scholarship-related processes outside of their solution.

  • Decentralized data across different systems

Depending on the organization, multiple tools may be utilized to support different phases of the scholarship management process. The most common issue is that these solutions are not integrated on a single platform. This makes it very difficult to have an overall view of your processes, applications and applicants’ status. A lot of time is wasted on these tasks, where data needs to be exported and imported manually. It also runs the risk of human error.

  • Manual reporting

Manual reporting brings numerous challenges. Trying to organize data manually from multiple sources into reports on a singular spreadsheet presents numerous issues, such as wasted resources and lower quality reporting. For example, trying to report on the number of applicants per country, or reporting on the difference in scholarship allocation between different countries, takes a lot of time and resources to collaborate the data and to ensure that the reporting is extensive and accurate. 

  • Paper-based processes

One of the most important parts of the scholarship management process is collecting signatures from the concerned parties, often in different countries or regions, for important documents. This was particularly challenging during the pandemic with remote working becoming the new normal, even for local applicants and organizations. Paper-based processes are simply no longer an option.

4 Benefits of Moving to a Scholarship Management Software System

  1. Improve efficiency for all users

If your team is constantly switching between different platforms and applications to access and collect data, they are less efficient. Additionally, if your team is relying on other departments to gain access to the information that they need, this results in delays: a waste of time and resources.

The scholarship process has numerous stakeholders, such as financial stakeholders, applicants, and reviewers. Each stakeholder will be privy to different levels of access and permissions. When using manual processes, it can result in delays ensuring that the right stakeholders have access to appropriate information.

Adopting a scholarship management system means that all of these activities are centralized and permissions are automated, increasing efficiency for you and your organization. 

  1. Streamline data collection

By using a scholarship management application, you can centralize your data in one place. This eliminates the need to collaborate data from different sources and spreadsheets, saving you precious time. 

  1. Easily manage all aspects of the scholarship management process

Often the scope of a scholarship program is limited by manual processes and in-house systems, especially as the program grows. This is one of the main reasons why an organization chooses to replace their old systems with a modern solution. With a scholarship management software system, you can manage all aspects of your scholarship program as it grows and changes through team communication, centralized data and automated workflows.

  1. Incorporate other aspects of education management into your operations

When dealing manually with any aspect of education management, it can be a time-consuming process. By adopting a software solution, not only can you manage your scholarship programs, but you can also incorporate other aspects of education management into your operations. This streamlines the entire education management process, such as managing research grant applications or your employees' community giving efforts. 

How Optimy Can Help You?

The Optimy platform has been built with our potential customers in mind. There are several key reasons why so many organizations chose Optimy for their social impact activities: flexibility, modularity, scalability and the support that comes along with it. 

When it comes to scholarship management, organizations benefit not only from having a single source of data, but also from the ability to efficiently deliver funding to scholars, connect with universities, and track relationships with applicants. 

Optimy allows organizations to grow and scale, offering the ability to add functions that meet their current needs. Depending on program complexity and scope, organizations can expand their scholarship management with different add-ons. 

Any type of form can be built via the Optimy platform, and can be used to meet any requirements or needs of scholarship organizations. An organization that is looking for a way to collect data on their applicants in a manner compliant with GDPR, and needs to be able to report on the status and volume of applications using different parameters, would be a great fit for the application form feature.

Many organizations that we have been working with choose from a variety of customer forms for online applications to real-time reporting for the review process. In addition, some organizations benefit from the full grants lifecycle across all stakeholder groups.

Want to know more? Contact us today for more information or a demo!