Foundation scholarship applications open
The FGCU Foundation has opened scholarship applications for the next school year.
Scholarships by the University Foundation provide students with aid based on their academic achievement, financial need and other donor specifications. These scholarships occur annually and are open to all incoming and continuing students.
Chris Simoneau, executive director of the FGCU Foundation, explained that the FGCU Foundation is a separate entity from the university. It’s a direct support organization, meaning that it is a independent non-profit that aims to support FGCU and its students.
“We raise money on behalf of the university. We manage money, particularly the endowment, on behalf of the university, and then we distribute money from the Foundation to the university to support the programs and activities of the university,” Simoneau said. “One of the things we support, more than any other, are scholarships for students.”
The Foundation is run by a board of roughly 50 people who want to support FGCU. Its members include representatives from athletics and alumni associations, as well as donors. Opportunities are primarily for undergraduate students, but there are some opportunities for graduate students as well. The Foundation also offers student employment and oversees the University Ambassador program on campus.
“We talk with a lot of donors, and donors want to support students in a variety of ways,” Simoneau said. “The number one way is through scholarships, by helping them to afford their education here at the university.”
Scholarships are determined by the donor in hopes of assisting students in need. These can range anywhere from being major-specific, merit-based, need-based, sports-based or minority-exclusive. The full list of scholarships can be found on the FGCU Undergraduate Scholarships webpage.
Last year, roughly 1,700 students received scholarships from the FGCU Foundation alone.
The exact number of scholarships available this year is difficult to determine, due to many larger scholarships being broken down into smaller ones to provide for a larger amount of students.
During the application process, students will be asked a series of questions pertaining to their personal information and five short essay questions about club activities and why they believe they should be awarded scholarships. In order to be considered for any of the Foundation scholarships, it is vital to have correct personal information, including student ID numbers.
By filling out the single application on the Undergraduate Scholarships website, students will be considered for all Foundation scholarships. Selection will begin in March, continuing through the following academic year.
”I encourage everyone to apply the Foundation scholarship,” Simoneau said. “It’s a great opportunity to receive some money from donors who are investing in our student population.”
However, not many students are aware of the scholarships the FGCU Foundation provides.
Wes White, a senior, and his friend Taylor West, a junior, both said they did not know about the opportunity. West had ideas about how to promote it.
“Definitely flyers on campus would help,” West said. “I’ve learned about a great many things on campus through just walking and people handing me a piece of paper. […] It stays in my mind, and I sometimes end up following through with it.”
Max Conoley, a freshman, was also unaware of the FGCU Foundation scholarships. He explained that he’d like to see more notification through email and flyers on campus, as well as through resident assistants.
Sophomore Kaley Doyle had not heard of these scholarships either, nor has she applied to any.
“I always check my Eagle email,” Doyle said. “I get a lot of emails that don’t mean anything, so it would be nice to get some helpful ones.”
However, Natalie Rubio, a freshman, knew all about the scholarships available through the FGCU Foundation.
“I did that when I was applying for the school. […] It was moderate, just answering essay questions. It wasn’t too difficult to fill out.”
Rubio also mentioned she applied to other scholarships not related to the FGCU Foundation.
Unlike most scholarships, FAFSA is not required to be filled out before applying, though it is highly recommended.
Priority registration for the FAFSA is due on March 1, 2016 and can be filled out on the FGCU website.