February 5, 2014 by Tiffany Acosta, NMSU News Center
The deadline for New Mexico State University students to apply for scholarships is quickly approaching. Since the 2010-2011 academic year, NMSU has allowed students to apply for scholarships with a single online application called Scholar Dollar$. The deadline is March 3.
Students have to apply and be admitted to NMSU prior to completing the Scholar Dollar$ application. Both incoming freshmen and current students are encouraged to apply each year.
“The way that it integrates with the student’s application process is what makes it so ideal,” said Diane Calhoun, NMSU University Advancement scholarship and stewardship director. “Once they are in the NMSU system, they can be considered for anything university-wide including all campuses and colleges.”
Due to the success of the streamlined program, Scholar Dollar$ has helped NMSU distribute $3.5 million in gift-funded scholarships to an average of 3,200 students per year.
“What has changed over the last four years is the number of students eligible for scholarships,” Calhoun said. “It’s not one student that fills out five paper applications in five different offices. We have increased the base and eligibility pool, and therefore the recipient pool, which is much more diverse.”
Currently, NMSU has about 1,500 gift-funded scholarships available to students.
“Scholar Dollar$ has been a great implementation tool for us to utilize because a lot of the paper pushing and data errors have gone away,” said Marlene Melendez, assistant director of University Financial Aid and Scholarship Services. “We have been able to increase our accuracy for our scholarships.”
“Since we’ve had Scholar Dollar$, we went from 62 percent of gift-funded scholarships awarded to students to more than 85 percent,” Calhoun said. “This tool has transformed the possibility of being able to award the funds.”
In four years, the number of Scholar Dollar$ applicants has increased from about 4,000 during the first year to 9,000 for the 2013-2014 academic year.
“This is a program that not only works from a student standpoint, but has vastly improved our ability to administrate scholarship funds that we hold in trust from donors,” Calhoun said. “It works tremendously as a development tool for us to help attract donors and show them how we can be good stewards of their money.”
“We are touching students that we would have never been able to touch before,” Melendez said. “The application is such a simple thing and students feel familiar with it.”
A variety of scholarships are available at NMSU. The Children of NMSU Employees Centennial Scholarship, which was created in 1988-1989 by a group of employees, funds a scholarship for children, grandchildren and wards of non-exempt employees. The scholarship has helped more than 100 students since its inception including Cynthia Bajarano, who recently was named a Regents Professor. She applied for the scholarship in the 1990s because her maternal grandfather, Jose Maria Escajeda, was a custodian at NMSU in the mid-1970s.
Willy I., Wanda and W. F. Martin Degree Completion Current Use Scholarship is an award for incoming freshman students who did not make the admission deadline that would qualify them for the New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship.
The Wolslager Foundation Scholarship funds $120,000 per year for students at the Las Cruces campus who have transferred from Doña Ana Community College and who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fields such as business and secondary education. The award is renewable for up to four semesters.
The Daniels Foundation Opportunity Scholarship seeks to help students who have started their bachelor’s degrees at any community college in the state and have transferred to the Las Cruces campus. It is renewable for four semesters.
The Noble T. Jones Endowed Scholarship, which is in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, supports New Mexico students.
The Professor Harold Brown Scholarship goes to electrical engineering students who are need-based with strong academic records, and it is renewable for eight semesters.
For more information on scholarships or to submit a scholarship application, visit scholarships.nmsu.edu.