In a PIE Webinar, experts in the field of scholarships revealed how offering funding in specific markets had provided opportunities for students who may have previously not had access, while also diversifying their student cohort.
“If you go into a new market, you can probably say that you’ve gone from nothing to 10, 15, 20 students. And as a result, the scholarships drove that,” said head of International Recruitment & Mobility at the UK’s Teesside University, Adam Rennison.
“But also it depends on what drives the individual. Scholarships for everyone of tuition fees doesn’t always make a difference, if the needs are actually accommodation or the needs are just to be recognised [as the best student].”
A partnership with a Jordanian bank funds 5,200 Jordanian students to come to Teeside every year, he said, while another initiative has seen the institution reinvest profits from its summer schools to scholarships.
“We managed to reinvest that into scholarships to bring students from the most remote parts of Uganda and Ghana to come and study,” he said.
Minnesota State University in the US has a refer-a-friend scholarship, which the Global Education team has had to “fight hard for” to introduce for this year.
Financial incentives are also an important part of the institution’s scholarship landscape, noted acting/ interim dean of Global Education, Anne Dahlman.
“On campus employment is a strategy in the US because our F1 and J1 students can work on campus. But not only do we offer them employment, but we add a leadership program so it’s more than just an employment program.”
Its funding program has also seen more students from one high school in Ethiopia than from all of China enrol at the institution in Mankato.
“They bring their friends, they bring their families, cousins because they trust us. That’s our brand.
“Everything is deep, everything means something”
“And Saudi Arabia is now number two, a major partnership with Saudi Airlines, we have a very competitive pilot program. So different strategies, but everything is deep, everything means something. It’s not just numbers. The numbers will result from these efforts.”
Turkey’s Koç University’s association to the IIE Syria Consortium in 2014 meant the institution became known to Syrian students, according to International Student Recruitment director Melissa Abache.
“It wasn’t a huge thing, just two scholarships, basically,” she said. “That allowed us then to partner with other foundations and other organisations that would also include students from Syria and other countries in the MENA region.”
Syria is now in the top four countries in terms of representation at the undergraduate level, she added.
Universities are also using CRMs and other options to maintain control over their scholarship offers.
“It’s a bit like anything where you’ve got faculties or schools within an institution, you can occasionally lose track over what is being offered,” detailed Rennison.
“We do have processes in place where you can’t receive more than one Teeside university funded scholarship,” he explained.
“We’re quite good centrally, but I would wonder, wider in the institution, whether everybody’s fully aware of what [scholarships] people have got.”
Additionally, operations should ensure that institutions have the best and most efficient reserve system in place to make candidates accept by a given date.
“With the functionality within the platform of DreamApply and the things that we’ve done in the past and the things we’ll do in the future, we’re seeing from existing clients and from new clients, that scholarships are now becoming key part of their recruitment strategy,” DreamApply’s head of Global Sales Iain Murray said.
“And the functionality we’ve got there is empowering them to have better control of that, not only for process in terms of students, but also for the admissions team and probably more importantly, for the internal finance departments, because we see that that, for existing clients, is a big challenge to manage those three things together.”