Today is the deadline for all current WAEF scholarship recipients to request scholarship renewal support for the 2018-19 school year. This isn't just any other deadline; this is the first year the opportunity has been made to all current students to renew, not just reapply for WAEF funding. A step further along our path to support students through to degree completion and career launch.
Making the decision to place all current students in a renewal status, regardless if their current WAEF scholarship allowed for renewal, was a bold step taken by the board of directors in August. While returning students had always been prioritized in the selection process and a growing number were also receiving awards with a renewal option, this puts WAEF on the hook to make sure each one of our current students that continues to meet our eligibility requirements and is performing in college has the chance to receive continued funding. We welcome the challenge!
187 current year WAEF students have the option to apply for renewal this year. We'll know at the end of the day how many submit complete renewal forms. Each renewal applicant will be interviewed by an experienced scholarship committee volunteer to determine their true financial need and make an assessment of each student's merit to receive continued funding.
For the financial need question, volunteers will be seeking an actual dollar amount that identifies what a student needs to fill the gap between their existing funding sources and the cost of attendance. Included in that will be other scholarships, grants, institutional aid and personal and/or family contributions. Volunteers will also look at attendance costs valuing ways students are reducing their own costs of attendance.
Merit is a measure of student effort and performance. How are their grades? What level of effort are they putting forth to learn and achieve academically? In addition to their classroom education, how are they engaging on campus, in their community and in their jobs? What additional pressures may be influencing their college performance? This is where we will rely heavily on the experience members have received in prior years in their reviews of dozens of applications.
The proposed funding amount that members of the committee are asked to provide for each of their assigned applicants is intended to be a reflection of need and merit. Our desire is to provide the right level of funding to each worthy applicant for them to stay enrolled in college through degree completion. We don't expect this part of the process to be easy.
Once assessments are completed, funding for each student will be identified. This will be completed prior to consideration of funding for new applicants. We plan to utilize information learned through the renewal process this year to inform funding decisions for new scholarships. Stay tuned! All scholarship awards will be announced in May following the full review.
If you have questions or would like to learn more as we make our way through this new process, please reach out to me at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org or (509) 663-7713.