For colleges and universities, providing scholarships is an increasingly important service. According to data from The Chronicle of Higher Education cited by American Student Assistance, about 20 million students attend college each year, and out of that number, 12 million borrow to cover costs. As student debt mounts, it’s important for colleges, universities, and other organizations to promote scholarships as an alternative to funding college.

About 60 percent of all students come out of college with some debt. While scholarship money may not cover all of the costs of admission, it can contribute, and it doesn’t need to be paid back. Many students apply for scholarships at the school they are planning to attend, but there are other organizations that grant scholarships as well. The money is out there, and it’s becoming more important that students find scholarship aid to bolster their income.

According to, about $46 billion in grant and scholarship money is awarded from the U.S. Department of Education, universities, and colleges. Another $3.3 billion is given out by private sources. In 2012, full-time undergraduate students at public four-year schools received an average of $5,750 in gift aid, while full-time undergraduates at private schools received $15,680 on average.

Scholarship management increases applications

When organizations, including colleges and universities, use outmoded processes to run scholarship programs, they may not give out as many funds as they could, or the monetary gifts could be going to candidates with a greater need, or who is a better match for organizational goals. CommunityForce’s scholarship management software can help all organizations that give out scholarships better reach the students they are trying to help.

Larger universities and colleges deal with an enormous number of applicants. Once schools receive that many applications, it becomes difficult to sort through them and weigh each individual fairly. Yet, that’s exactly what they have to do. Scholarship management platforms like CommunityForce’s allow committees to score applicants online, which increases visibility into the review process and makes it easier to determine whether everyone is using the same criteria to evaluate candidates. You can also automate review workflows to speed up the process.

On the other end of the spectrum, smaller organizations and nonprofits may have fewer applications than they would like. CommunityForce’s scholarship management platform allows students to more easily search for scholarships that fit their needs.

Investing in scholarship management software can help organizations deliver gifts to students more effectively, and ensure they make it out of school with less debt.