Since leaving campus for winter break last term, sophomore Vikas Mankala has been hard at work as scholarship season has arrived. Mankala is one of the hundreds of undergraduate students who will apply to scholarships during the term. For most scholarships offered by the University of Oregon, applications are due during winter term, but this year Mankala thought ahead.

“This time I was smart and worked over winter break,” Mankala said. “I didn’t procrastinate like I did last year.”

Majoring in both human physiology and biology, Mankala has to take extra classes to satisfy all of his requirements. The extra workload can be costly.

“I have to take more credits than the average student with one major so I have to take more classes, which costs more,” Mankala said. The scholarships Mankala has continued to receive have helped him pursue a double major.

For UO students options are available to help fund costs with higher education. The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships offer two scholarships that continuing students can apply for: the General University Scholarship and the Diversity Excellence Scholarship.

Other scholarships are also offered within the different schools and departments on campus. Jeanne Coe, director of Student Services in the Lundquist College of Business, coordinates the undergraduate scholarships that the school offers. According to Coe, the college offers over $300,000 a year in scholarships for continuing students.

The College of Arts and Sciences, which consists of 41 departments and programs as well as 46 undergraduate majors, offers 28 scholarships to different majors within the college. Specific departments also offer their own scholarships. According to Sarah Bungum, associate director of Donor and Alumni Relations, the criteria varies for the scholarships offered by the college.

“It’s different for each scholarship,” Bungum said. “So we have this huge list of 28 and they’re all different. Some of them have financial need, some of them don’t. It’s one application and you just check off all of the ones that you are saying you’re eligible for. We try to make it easier and have it be all online.”

The online application process has made it easier both for students like Mankala and the staff who coordinate scholarship awards. Both the College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences have made efforts to make their scholarships accessible to students.

“We put it on our weekly announcements, we have monitors in the building that we announce by,” Coe said. “And then word of mouth of course, and our advisors.”

“We definitely get a lot of applications, so they’re definitely finding out about them somehow,” Bungum said.

In Mankala’s opinion, the biggest obstacle preventing students from applying to scholarships is not accessibility, but a lack of “follow-through.”

“I think the financial aid that’s out there is being promoted well,” Mankala said. “There are banners on the street and I get lots of emails. The university does a good job distributing the information and it’s up to the student to follow through.”

According to Mankala, not only are the scholarship applications accessible, they are also a means of self-reflection.

“They encourage us to pursue our areas of study further,” Mankala said. “One of the prompts of an essay I wrote was, ‘What drives you in the area of sciences and what are your goals for the future?’ and that reflection alone is an additional resource I can use to follow that path.”

Follow Francesca Fontana on Twitter @francescamarief

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