The office door opens. A student drops his backpack on the ground, slumps into the chair and pleads, “I need help paying for school!” Each semester, this scene plays out numerous times at the Center for Scholarship Information. “Have you visited the center’s website?” asks Coordinator of University Scholarships Valerie Kelsey. Kelsey then proceeds to help the student obtain the information he needs, demonstrating use of the CSI website and how to search for scholarship opportunities.
As tuition continues to rise, more and more students at The Beach are turning to scholarships to help fund their education. To better assist CSULB students in their quest for financial stability, the Center for Scholarship Information hosts a database of more than 600 scholarships. Students are able to search for scholarships by categories such as major, essay competitions and personal demographics like ethnicity, gender and place of residence. Students can also utilize the deadline search engine if they prefer to know what scholarships are closing soon. Either way, students have, at their fingertips, the means to look for scholarships 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Students are busy individuals trying to balance school, work and community service. Sometimes, they are not able to visit the center in person,” states Kelsey. “The database enables students to find scholarships when they have time, beyond normal office hours. Students can search for scholarships at 2 AM if that suits their lifestyle.” The center also posts a list of “Hot Scholarships” each semester, which are open to students of any major. This list cuts down on the amount of time students spend searching for scholarships. It has become a popular feature among students over the past few years.
The goal of the center is to have the most comprehensive database of campus and local community scholarships. Each summer, Kelsey conducts a comprehensive review of the scholarships in the database, working to update the criteria and deadlines. She also contacts each department on campus to obtain up-to-date information on scholarships. “According to feedback, students enjoy having all of the scholarships available on one site. It minimizes the time they spend looking for opportunities and allows them time to focus on producing the best possible application.”
Beginning this fall, the center will launch a new online application for those on the Hot Scholarships list. Students will be able to click a button to apply for each scholarship. “More students will be able to apply because they are not required to come to campus to submit an application,” explains Kelsey. “I am always looking for ways to make the scholarship process easier and more accessible for our students.”