Choosing Scholarship Management Software: A Comprehensive Guide

Taking care of financial aid and scholarships can often require a lot of paperwork. Scholarship management software is meant to make things easier, like collecting and reviewing applications, choosing winners, sending out award messages, and giving out money. But because there are so many choices, it can be hard to figure out which programme is best for you.

This piece goes into great detail about the most important things you should look at when choosing scholarship management software. We’ll talk about common features, look at real user reviews, and give you general advice to help you choose the best option for your needs. Finally, you’ll know exactly what to search for and how to pick the best tools for quality control.


The main functions

Of course, the main job of any scholarship management programme is to handle the whole process, from beginning to end. These are some of the most important steps you’ll need a programme to help you with:


Application Intake: Let students use the internet to fill out and send in their applications. Look for forms that are combined and work like paper applications.

Applicant Tracking: Put all of the applications that have been sent in into a database that keeps track of their state and due dates. You can search and sort this information, which is helpful.

Review and Selection: Use online review forms, ranking systems, and consolidated applicant profiles to make it easier for the selection group to look over the applications.

Award Management: Make and control various types of awards with values, criteria, and payment plans that can be changed.


Notification: Make offer letters, acceptance forms, and other letters automatically and send them to the right people.

Funds Disbursement: Keep track of the remaining amounts on awards, send payments to students or third parties like schools, and make sure you have all the tax forms you need.

Reporting: Make the statistics, lists, and summaries that are needed for review, fundraising, and following the rules. You can export to popular file types.

It’s important to check if a programme can handle all steps of the process in a single, unified system. Workflows that are complicated and involve many areas may need strong features at every step.

Options for customisation

Because there are so many scholarship programmes, being able to change the software to fit your needs is also helpful. Look for programmes that let you change things.

Forms for applications: You can add or remove fields, change labels and mandatory fields, and change the order of the fields.

Review criteria: Give each committee member a set of weighted criteria and a scale to use when giving grades.

Award types: Set up different funds with their own amounts, deadlines for payments, and requirements.

Communication templates: You can change pre-made letters of offer, acceptance, and other alerts.

Reports: You can filter, group, and share data in custom reports that aren’t pre-made templates.

You can make forms, emails, and the administration interface even more unique by branding them with the look and feel of your school or organisation. Programmes that can’t be changed much or at all may become limiting over time.

Help and Experience for Users

For software, usefulness is king, but usability is also very important. Look for programmes that have an easy-to-use layout that works well for all kinds of users.

Students putting in applications
Reviewers on a committee choose the winners.
Backend administrators are in charge.
Real user reviews on sites like Capterra can give you more information than what the company says in its marketing materials. Read the notes about how easy it is to use, how long it takes to learn, and how intuitive the tool is.

Also, think about the support choices that are out there. Good support cuts down on the time it takes to learn and helps you get the most out of your software purchase. Find these:

During work hours, you can get help by phone or email.
FAQs and papers in a knowledge base can help you help yourself.
Tools for training, like workshops and video lessons
Regular changes and improvements to software
Support that is proactive and quick is a big part of having a good long-term experience.

Integration and Working Together

Integration skills are important if your grant programme needs to share data with other systems. A good programme would:

Connects to SIS/LMS tools to check applicants and handle automatic payments.

Brings applicant information in from popular apps and other sources to pre-fill fields.

Reports, payments, and papers can be exported to common file types for use outside the company.

Open APIs allow for custom connections with tools already used by the company.

In addition to apps, gadgets can also work together. Make sure that the software works with current browsers on both computers and phones so that you can easily access it from anywhere. Problems with compatibility cause delays that make it harder to get work done.

Costs and the ability to grow

Lastly, the best pricing models are based on budget and long-term wants. Look at pricing systems, such as

One-time licence fees vs. payments that keep coming back
Pricing per person changes based on the number of users.
Add-on tools and features for more complex customisation needs
Discounts for charities or long-term contracts
Also, think about scalability: can the software get bigger as your programme does? On-premise programmes with hard limits don’t tend to be able to grow as well as cloud-hosted programmes. Do not get stuck with expensive upgrades that you will not need as your wants change.

Real Experiences from Users

Here are some opinions from real users to help you get a better idea of how different scholarship management tools work in real life:

Sara Jackson, who is in charge of grants at a state university, used Award Spring:

“Award Spring has made our whole process easier.” It’s simple to use, so kids, committees, and our office can all do it. They have great customer service; they helped us make forms of our own and set up connections with our systems. It’s given us more time to focus on clients.

James Martinez, who is in charge of financial help at a private high school, switched to BeyondAwards from Community Brands:

“Our old system wasn’t as good at reporting as BeyondAwards is.” It’s now so much easier to get data for things like audits, fundraisers, and assessments. The mobile app lets the reviewing groups do their work while they’re on the go. It was easy to switch, and they gave teachers great online training films.

Lisa Kim, who is in charge of a big community charity, tried ScholarshipOwl but didn’t like how limited it was.

“ScholarshipOwl didn’t grow with our programme or let us make enough changes as it got bigger.” The experience wasn’t easy to use, either. Alaquest is the new system we’re using because it has more flexible forms and criteria and works better with all of our other systems.

Some general tips for picking a programme

Here are some tips that will help you choose software that will work well for your scholarship programme and cut down on your choices:

Define your core wants and list the most important features you must have.

Read reviews of different choices on sites like Capterra that aren’t biassed.

Talk to people who have already used it in similar situations to get first-hand

Think about pricing plans that work with current and future budgets and can be expanded.

Look for strong ways to get help, such as online training, information bases, and support.

Check the programme’s ability to be customised to meet specific needs.

Check how well it works with and integrates with existing systems and devices that are important.

If you want to see how the software works, ask for free or cheap trials.

Don’t get stuck with private systems that can’t be expanded over time.

Choose a service that promises to keep making things better through updates.

If you carefully think about these important things, you can be sure that the management software you choose will help your grant programmes move forward instead of getting in the way. Putting the right features at the top of the list can help streamline processes, ensure compliance, and have the biggest effect on students.

Finally, scholarship management software can really help you if you pick the right one to do the time-consuming routine work for you. When choosing the right service and solution, being methodical and thorough pays off in terms of increased productivity and a good experience over time. Doing your research ahead of time can save you a lot of trouble later on and help grant programmes grow.

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