students studying
Demonstrated study and leadership skills can be key factors in scholarship committees' considerations.


CMU Foundation will award $1 million in scholarships in 2016

Scholarship season is taken seriously at Colorado Mesa University, where, in keeping with the institution’s mission of affordability, 75 percent of the students receive some form of financial assistance. Thanks to gifts and endowments from friends of the university, 22 percent of CMU students receive scholarships through the CMU Foundation and other sources.

Each year, the foundation awards more than 300 scholarships. The number of awards has increased over the years, as has the number of recipients — more than 450 students received a foundation scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year.

The amount of money awarded through the foundation has also grown. “We’ll hit $1 million this year,” said Curt Martin, CMU’s director of financial aid.

That’s a lot of financial aid on the line. Luckily, CMU students only have to fill out one application for most of those awards. In 2013, the Financial Aid Office introduced AcademicWorks, a scholarship-matching software that makes the application process simpler for both students and award committees. It’s made a significant difference. “The number of people applying has doubled,” Martin said.

AcademicWorks automatically matches students’ applications to all the awards for which they qualify. Scholarships are available for most fields of study and many extracurricular activities, including athletics. According to Martin, a little scholarship money can go a long way at CMU. Several small scholarships can add up to make a significant difference.

Students earn those scholarships by keeping up their grades, demonstrating leadership skills and submitting a well-written essay if one is required. Some scholarships factor in financial need, which might necessitate students filling out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid to determine their family’s expected contribution.

“I’ve seen people put a lot of effort in these applications,” Martin said. “It really pays off.”

To be eligible for CMU Foundation scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year, students must apply by Feb. 14. Learn more about scholarships at CMU and access the application.


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