Scholarship deadlines approach

Nick Bohannon/The News

Story by Katlyn Mackie, Staff writer 

The scholarship office is urging students to submit their scholarship applications as soon as possible, as deadlines are approaching.

The scholarship application opened on Sept. 2 and closes on Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. This is a day later than the normally scheduled due date on Jan. 15 due to it falling on a holiday.

Christian Cruce, director of scholarships, said pushing the deadline back a day allows for students to receive any last minute help during the work day.

“The 16th is the first day of the spring semester so we are encouraging current students to just check it off their list before they go on holiday break,” Cruce said.

For Murray State scholarships, students fill out one application. Once the application is submitted, students will automatically be matched with all the scholarships they are eligible for. To apply, students must click the link in the financial aid section on their MyGate account then select the option for the general scholarship application.

According to the Murray State website, Murray State University offers two categories of scholarships: academic achievement scholarships and competitive scholarships. Academic achievement scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first serve basis. Competitive scholarships are annual and requires students to complete the Murray State Scholarship Application.

Within the Murray State grouping of scholarships, Cruce said there are university-funded scholarships and privately-funded scholarships. University-funded scholarships include academic achievement, presidential fellowship and transfer scholarships. She also said there are around 700, and climbing, privately-funded scholarships. In each scholarship, there could be anywhere from one award to 20 awards.

Based on Murray State’s most recent reports, the university currently awards an average of $5,573 per student in scholarships and waivers.

“There are lots of generous donors who have established privately-funded scholarships through the development office,” Cruce said. “Development officers are constantly getting new scholarships in the privately-funded category.”

On average about 5,000 people apply for scholarships. Cruce said the majority of applicants are in the new student category, and she would love to see more current students submit applications.

Many scholarships are designed for upperclassmen and current college students. Cruce said most think it is a “one shot deal” despite the fact that eligibility changes from year to year, and new scholarships come in constantly.

“A lot of times students think they can only get scholarships coming in as a new freshman or a new transfer, and that is not the case,” Cruce said.

Cruce said students receiving scholarships could even help boost enrollment, because every type of financial assistance students can get is helpful in terms of recruitment and retention. She said students are always looking for ways to help fund their education because of different costs they incur like tuition, housing, meals or books.

“We see students all the time here who are looking for additional ways to help pay for their education so they can try to minimize the loans as much as  possible,” Cruce said.

To inform students about scholarship deadlines, Cruce said the scholarship office utilizes emails, limited text messaging and social media. She said they also occasionally speak to classes and put up yard signs. In the beginning of the semester, the bursar’s office mails a postcard to students to inform students of deadlines.

Cruce said, in addition to applying for Murray State scholarships, there is information on MyGate regarding external scholarships. There are links to search engines and external scholarship on the website. Each one is vetted to make sure it is free, legitimate and applies to students at Murray State. The list is updated weekly.

Cruce recommended students set aside 30 minutes to search for scholarships each week and to utilize the Racer Writing Center when writing essays for external scholarships.

“We try to do what we can to help them know what resources are there,” Cruce said.

Important dates to consider:

  • General Scholarship Application Deadline for 2018-2019 on Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Awards Letters Sent Via Email on April 2 (Approximate date)
  • National Scholarship Acceptance Deadline on May 1
  • Non-Traditional Student-Specific Scholarships Deadline on June 1

“Anybody that is planning or thinks at all they would come back whether it is for continuing their bachelor’s degree or going on to a master’s degree, we definitely want them to get out there and submit that application because we can’t consider them if they don’t turn it in,” Cruce said.