First off: Yes, it's free. And yes, student data is safe.
Cost is the top FAQ we get from counselors. So we want to be clear: This service is completely free for both your students, and for any school or school district/network scholarship provider. We know school budgets can be tight, so we are committed to keeping this forever free.
The second top FAQ is about student data--and rightly so! We care about student data privacy and are very strict about it. We do not sell student data to third parties, and all student data is fully secured using bank-level encryption methods.
(How, then, do we make our money? Well, we charge a small fee to larger/corporate scholarship providers who use our software to create and manage their scholarships online. But they too only get access to answers/information from students' submitted applications forms and no other data.)
Now, onto the good stuff: What does it mean to "digitize a scholarship program" and to "host the application" on Going Merry?
This simply means that instead of accepting applications by email or printed application forms, you instead have your application as an online form that we help you create. Your students then can fill out that form online and hit "submit," at which time it shows up in your Provider Portal. When signing into your Provider Portal, you'll see a list of students, each with a downloadable PDF application. You can also download ALL applications with the click of a button, with the choice of downloading them as a zipped folder of PDFs or as one single summary CSV (with each application question as a column). You can also review and evaluate applications online, and even invite others to help you evaluate applications too.
Why would I want to do this? Why is it a better process?
First of all, don't take our word for it. Review a case study of Arcadia High School's local scholarships program here, or see a 2-pager on how we increased application rates for the Nevada Joint Union High School District here.
In summary, here are just a few of the reasons for why a digital process on Going Merry is better than any manual process you might be currently using:
Streamlined application process for students (application form autofills, students get matched to scholarships they're eligible for)
Automatic email deadline reminders for anyone who's favorited the scholarship or started a draft
Application form can ONLY be filled out by eligible students, and can ONLY be submitted when fully filled out (no more incomplete submissions!)
Easy progress tracking of draft applicants
Easy document uploads (e.g. for transcripts and letters of recommendation)
Ability to invite other submission evaluators/reviewers, and even to average out all reviewers' scores into a "summary evaluation score"
What does a scholarship program look like to students?
Students have a separate "Local Scholarships" section within their student portal that will contain your scholarship program. They can view details at a quick glance, favorite certain scholarships, and begin applying directly!
All scholarships have their own listing page (see image below) that explains:
Scholarship provider description
Scholarship amount and number of recipients
Estimated completion time
Students' applications are autofilled with information from their profile so they never have to reenter any information! They can also attach any supporting documents that they have stored within their student profile. If your scholarship program contains multiple applications, this makes it easy for a student to quickly apply only to the scholarships they're eligible for.
Students can request recommendation letters directly from within an application. Once a recommendation letter is received, it can be confidentially reused for other scholarship applications. Note that students can NEVER view the contents of a recommendation letter.
What does the scholarship program look like for me, as the administrator?
As the administrator, you will be able to set the information about each scholarship in your program (including eligibility requirements, deadlines, application questions, required forms like recommendation letters, etc.). Using this information, we will build all the scholarship listing pages and application forms for you.
You will have access to our Provider Portal; see screenshots of it here. Through that portal, you will be able to:
Track applications to your scholarship, including the number in draft and fully submitted
Invite other evaluators for specific scholarships (for example: the sponsor of a memorial scholarship) or other administrators for the whole program (for example: other counselors at your school).
Download individual student applications as PDFs
Download a list of applicants and their application form answers as a CSV
Evaluate submitted applications and mark the winner(s)
Is my scholarship program eligible for being hosted on Going Merry?
Here are the basic requirements for hosting your scholarship program on Going Merry:
You (or some other counselor/administrator at your school/district) directly manage the scholarship program. This means you/they are responsible for distributing and collecting the applications from students.
Only the students within your school or district are eligible for the scholarships in your scholarship program.
I meet these requirements. How do I get started?!
Here's an article on the process for getting started. Otherwise, jump straight to the first step, which is adding yourself to the queue/waitlist. Normally, it takes 2-6 weeks for us to get to a school program, once it's on the waitlist, but during scholarship crunch time, the wait can be longer.