The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

DePaul students give mixed reviews of first scholarship fair at Lincoln Park campus

The university’s first scholarship fair at the Lincoln Park campus made its debut in the Student Center last Thursday and students had mixed opinions on whether it matched its goal to bring transparency and preparedness to the scholarship application process.  

Amy Moncher, associate director of operations in the DePaul Office of Financial Aid, said, “the reason that we did (the scholarship fair) now specifically, was so that students could prepare for next year.”

Moncher said students were complaining about the visibility and timing of scholarships, which is why the university made the move to an online platform called Scholarship Tool and held the scholarship fair to tell students about it.

The atrium of the student center was filled with tables from the colleges located in Lincoln Park as well as offices like the Career Center and Financial Fitness. Another scholarship fair was held last week in the DePaul Center in the loop for colleges like the business and communication school. Moncher said in the future she hopes to bring all of the colleges together in one place.

Overall, sophomore Minerva Dominguez said the fair was a good idea.

“It encourages students to take advantage of their resources, like talking to people in the specific college,” Dominguez said. “Even though I knew how to look for scholarships, just having (college representatives) say, ‘oh yeah come into our office.’ It’s just reassuring to know you have those resources even though I already knew that I could look for scholarships online.”

But it was Dominguez who encouraged her friend Katia Silva to come to the fair.

“They totally should (continue to have the fair next year), but it should definitely be advertised more because I did not know that it was going on,” Silva, a sophomore, said.

When it came to finding new information, Silva said the fair was helpful not in teaching her something new, but rather reminding her of what was already available.

“Basically (the fair is) just something that was reiterated because I’ve seen this before,” Silva said.

Carla Ramirez on the other hand, said that the information from the study abroad table was something she was glad she learned.

“I didn’t know that they had post-graduate study abroad scholarships, and I’m studying abroad and graduating this year so that was exciting. I’m going to look into it,” Ramirez said.

Dominguez said having her college representatives explain when scholarships would become available was most helpful.

“It’s cool that they’re restarting (scholarship applications) in July so I know to keep an eye out more,” Dominguez said. “I’ve been on the website, but I couldn’t find anything new. So I know they’ll be on around July and I can look for new scholarships for the fall.”

Moncher said making the scholarship application process more centralized is a challenge that all universities face.

“The continuing student scholarship process wasn’t as transparent as students would have liked it to be. It’s really actually scholarships as a history at colleges and universities because different departments own them. It has always been very decentralized everywhere,” Moncher said.

Moncher said the fair was to help spread the word about the online Scholarship Tool created by Academic Works, which displays all the scholarships in participating departments and colleges as well as their deadlines.

“This is the first year we really felt comfortable putting it out because most of our colleges are using it. It’s a more visible place for students to go and see everything in one place,” Moncher said.

Craig Covington is a transfer student who, due to new family circumstances, will need significant help paying for school next year. To him, the scholarship fair wasn’t as helpful as he would like, but he is glad that it will continue.

“I think there’s a few (scholarships) that I’ve known about and just haven’t taken time to apply for. I’m really bad about doing that part. But I think in general (college representatives) could offer more in-depth understanding of what the scholarships are,” Covington said. “There’s a few here that they explain what they are, but to have someone here who went through the scholarships and the recipient of or the supervisor of the scholarships, I think that would be handy.”

Joseph Cunanan, a graduate assistant and scholarship coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid, said that the fair will continue to be in the spring every year.

“We plan to keep this going on every year at this time before the summer because we want to remind students that there are opportunities, donor-funded scholarships, university wide scholarships, that are available for the upcoming academic year,” Cunanan said.

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