Common Scholarship Application unites SDSU

by Camille Lozano

With the cost of books, tuition and living, students are actively seeking opportunities to cut costs through scholarships.

The San Diego Foundation provides a unique option for financial aid through its Community Scholarship Program, offering the “Common Scholarship Application.” This application allows students to apply for more than 100 different scholarships exclusive to San Diego using a single application.

Last year, 3,000 students applied and 798 different scholarships were awarded. A sum of around $2.2 million Director of the Community Scholarship Program Lindsay Caddel said.

“No scholarship went unused,” Caddel said. “In some pools, when donors saw the applications come in, the donors increased funding.”

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at San Diego State has noted a similar increase in demand for scholarships since the recession in 2009, Assistant Director for the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships Colleen Conniff said.

“We have seen a general trend where the number of applications received for campus-based SDSU scholarships have increased by about 2,000 applications each academic year,” Conniff said.

Within the 2012-2013 school year, the office received 21,522 applications for campus-based SDSU scholarships, Conniff said. In that school year, 1,932 campus-based SDSU scholarships were awarded.

Caddel said The San Diego Foundation has also experienced an increase in applicants since the recession and that the organization has taken steps to make the application process easier for students.

“For a whole host of reasons, some scholarships went unused two years ago,” Caddel said. “Only 1,100 students applied then, in comparison to last year’s 3,000 applicants.”

The foundation has attempted to make the process easier and waived the transcript requirements for last year’s submissions. Transcripts were only needed later in the process for students being considered to receive the scholarship.

“There are great opportunities for students to get funding where only juniors and seniors may apply, so you aren’t competing in that larger pool with freshmen and those finishing high school,” Caddel said.

The Common Scholarship is unique because students aren’t competing with others throughout the state of California, but with other San Diegans. In addition, some are only available for current or prospective SDSU students. These scholarships include the Antonio Biondo Scholarship for those considering a career in public service, the Austin Bice Memorial Scholarship, the Tom Chapman Civil Engineering Scholarship and the Rubie Eileen Chapman Elementary Education Scholarship for those majoring in liberal arts or child development.

“The first couple of semesters I applied for financial aid and scholarships but I didn’t get any of them so…I just put that on a back burner,” Computer Science junior Fitwee Gabriel said. “I got demotivated.”

Gabriel said he would consider applying for the scholarship because of its convenient features.

“It sounds easy,” Gabriel said. “It’s applying you to a lot of other scholarships and that’s great.”

The user registration deadline is at noon on Monday, Feb. 3 and the Common Scholarship Application is due at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

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