KANSAS CITY, Mo. — College is expensive and sometimes it can be difficult knowing where to start to help pay for it.
But a new online tool is working to ease some of that stress.
My Scholarship Central is a free online website that connects students to more than 50 scholarship providers right in their area.
It’s a one-stop “scholarship” stop, allowing students to review the application criteria and apply directly with the scholarship providers.
“Our goal was to make it really easy for Missouri students, and then students in the Kansas City and the St. Louis areas on the bi-state region, to be able to find who the scholarship providers are in their area,” My Scholarship Central manager, Kaitlyn Venta said. “There are a lot of people offering scholarships and it can be hard to know where to look. So we wanted to make one place where students could find scholarships from trusted organizations. These are all nonprofits and foundations that have fantastic opportunities for students both in high school, college and adult learners.”
The Debruce Foundation helped fund the tool, and the foundation’s senior director, Robin Smith said it’s useful for college-bound students, especially as they’ve been navigating many things virtually this year.
“Our reliance on being able to do things virtually and find information virtually has really increased,” Smith said. “So a tool like this, we did want to invest in something that we knew was fast, was free, was available to people there because people are online so much more.”
“I think that the pandemic has just shown how important virtual tools like ours is, so a big thing we wanted to do was provide a resource directly for students where they could find fellowships, easily,” Venta said. “There are a lot of scholarship websites out there. Ours is a little different in that we are a nonprofit collaborative resource. You don’t have to pay the scholarship providers, don’t have to pay, we get funding from a few different foundations. So students know that they’re not going to see ads, they’re not going to get spammed, they know that these are legitimate scholarships, not sweepstakes, these are scholarships from organizations that are seeking to host.”
The website is available for both students and advisors.
“They can come on our site, and they’ll get a lot of students who have been disconnected from their advisor, so advisors are doing incredible work and trying to reach out to as many students as they can, ” Venta said. “Scholarships Central is a place where they can still get help to find the scholarship information that they need.”
Students do not need to have the highest standardized test scores or grade levels to apply to the more than 100 scholarships available.
“We have a lot of scholarships that don’t have a financial aid component. And we have scholarships for all different types of students,” Venta said. “You do not have to be a straight-A student, you do not have to have a perfect ACT score. Maybe you’ve done a lot of community service, maybe you’re involved in leadership at your school. If you go on Scholarship Central, you will find an opportunity for you.”
Other career readiness tools are also available on the site.
“One of the things that we’ve really been committed to as we’re trying to expand those pathways to opportunity is figuring out, ‘Okay, what are the tools someone needs to help them do that more effectively,'” Smith said. “We do have a variety of free tools and experiences that people can do online, and one of those is the Agile Work Profiler, which is a free 10-minute assessment. It can help someone just to figure out, find out what their value is, and they bring to the world of work and how to translate it and make that connection.”
To learn more about Scholarship Central, visit the website.