If you looked at the news lately, you might have heard about the difficulties we are having with sending our next generation to college. Everything from admission requirements, financial aid, rising tuition costs, and of course, student loans has been in the news today that keeps our students find difficulties reaching college. This is dysfunctional system that is keeping out deserving students from getting a college education.
These dilemmas awaken me, that is why I came up with my first personal mission: “to send 1 Million more students to college each year, by connecting them to resources in the community”. I believe there is enough resources out there in the community to make this goal attainable. The reason why I think 1 million students are not already going to college is because of the following: Awareness – Process – Experience. The following will address each of the 3 points I brought up.
Students are not always educated about all of the resources that are out there, or how to properly apply for them. At this stage, if students are not properly educated about all of the resources that are out there for them, the opportunities can go missed without students even reaching out to the organizations. The numbers are quite staggering and disheartening. I have spoken with many program managers who could guarantee qualified applicants money if they would just apply to their organization. Lack of awareness is the cause for $100M dollars of scholarship money to go unclaimed each year, which is equivalent to about 10,000 students getting a full ride scholarship at their local public four-year university.
The whole overview of connecting students to scholarships/community resources to go to college. This process sucks! Many parents and students do not know where to start and usually forget crucial parts such as forgetting to apply for FASFA, missing school events, or worst missing application deadlines. On the provider side, most of their technology that they use is out of date and their process can take them hours to complete. A scholarship provider usually spends more than 40 hours processing applications to finally find a recipient. What makes any scholarship provider happy is the act of giving and not the tedious work that comes with the task.
Currently, most students and providers do not have a great experience with scholarships. Student spend hundreds of hours trying to find scholarships that they qualify for and applying to each one individually. Donors can spend hundred of hours and thousands of dollars on marketing and still not receive enough applications. On top of that, potential scholarship donors cannot enter the market because the amount they can afford is not enough for a foundation to host their scholarship. Overall, because of these failures, there are donors out there who cannot help their community, and those who are currently out there doing it, are not having the time of their lives. If the overall experience of scholarships were better for both the donor and the student, then students will have the opportunity to achieve a higher education.
After I have explained my thoughts on how the system can be improved, the question is, “Will this be enough to send 1 Million students to college?” the answer to that is yes. If we can enable more scholarship donors to give money to students and then work to empower and inspire more people to get involved in the scholarship process, sending 1 Million More Students to College is possible!