Penny Wise: Scholarship databases match students, funds

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By Adriana Ruiz

Apply early for first dibs.

Students needing some extra cash to pay for classes should apply for the Alamo Colleges Foundation Scholarship. Priority deadline is March 31 to be considered for an award in the 2014-15 academic year.

Applying for foundation scholarships is simple, said Irene Cisneros-Fuentes, scholarship coordinator at this college.

“The process is a better opportunity,” Fuentes said. “One time per academic year.”

To be considered for all of the foundation scholarships, students must fill out a single application online.

“Students don’t have to apply for several applications, just one, to be considered for several scholarships,” Fuentes said.

All the scholarships have different criteria. When students apply, their name is added to a database and then matched with a scholarship, she said. Students who qualify for one of the many scholarships will be notified through ACES email.

Fuentes said students who apply before the March 31 deadline will be considered first and students who apply after the deadline will be added to a second group of applicants to be processed. Deadline for the second consideration is Sept. 15.

Fuentes said it is better for students to apply early because most scholarships are awarded to those who meet the March 31 deadline.

Fuentes said the second group of applicants is considered for scholarships only if additional funds are gathered.

Foundation scholarships are funded through organizations that donate money. If the money is not donated to a specific college, it is split equally among the five Alamo Colleges.

Fuentes said the foundation scholarships are easily attainable by all students because donors, such as USAA and Valero, decide on award criteria, which may not always focus on students with a high grade-point average.

She said every year this college awards about 150 scholarships to students. Scholarships awarded range from $250 to $1,500.

Fuentes said in 2012-13, 1,600 students were awarded a total of $1.4 million.

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