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BOSS System Streamlines Process for Incoming Freshmen to Texas State

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BOSS System Streamlines Process for Incoming Freshmen to Texas State

Before the Bobcat Online Scholarship System (BOSS) launched two years ago, Texas State students had to navigate a siloed process to apply for university scholarships. Each of the 10 colleges had their own applications, deadlines, and requirements, as did Financial Aid and Scholarships. 

“When an incoming freshman simply asked, ‘How do I apply for scholarships?’ we could never give a simple answer,” says Stephanie Lopez, assistant director, Financial Aid and Scholarships. “Now we are down to one application.” That one application is the Bobcat Online Scholarship System (BOSS). Some 500 universities use this type of system, and Lopez says the goal is to reach all students; to that end, Financial Aid aims to get a 100% buy-in across the campuses, with all departments awarding scholarships using the system. 

HOW IT WORKS 

After freshmen complete the admission application at www.applytexas.org, they receive a NetID and can go to BOSS to apply. Using a potential education major as an example, Lopez explains that the student can complete one application and it auto matches to the different opportunities. “So even though the College of Education might have 90 endowments, a student no longer has to fill out 90 applications for scholarships. They just do one and they are auto matched.” 

Here is the process:

• If there is an essay required for a scholarship, it can be uploaded on the site.
• Scholarships that require financial need will use the data available from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
• Reviewers on campuses can see and score scholarships online.
• The compliance process is covered. Lopez explains that this prevents scholarships from being misawarded, which happens when not all endowment requirements are met. 

Once the student has received and accepted a scholarship through BOSS, he or she uploads a thank you letter to the donor. “It is very important that we get those thank you letters and get them to the donors. It makes a big difference in donor giving,” says Kimberley Garrett, associate director, Endowment Services. Not every scholarship requires a thank you letter, but Garrett is notified when one is written and submitted. “I can assure you that we have received many more donations to endowments because the donors receive thank you letters from the recipients that just rip their hearts out. 

“We even had one donor that the recipient’s parents wrote a thank you letter to. That one made me cry. Guess what? That donor said he wasn’t giving us any more money and he then wrote a check for $100,000.” 

THE BOTTOM LINE 

Garrett says that most of the entering freshman scholarships are awarded to students in the top 20% or 25% of their high school graduating class. These are the students with an above average GPA and good scores on the SAT and ACT. “That’s the bottom line,” she says. Applications on BOSS open no later than November and much earlier for freshmen. The deadline for transfer and currently enrolled students is March 1. 

Texas State has three categories of academic scholarships for incoming freshmen: national scholarships, assured scholarships, and competitive scholarships. The first two are automatically awarded upon admission if the student meets the academic requirements. For a competitive freshman scholarship, a student must meet the requirements and complete the BOSS application. 

BOSS has made a difference with scholarship applications, Lopez says. “For our freshman class, we’ve seen an increase in students where Texas State is now their first choice,” she says. “We see students almost immediately accept scholarships online. You don’t have to be accepted by the university to apply for a scholarship, but you do have to be admitted to receive it.”