Scholarmine plans to make scholarships more accessible

Rene Delgadillo , Staff Reporter

Students can find new scholarship opportunities through ScholarMine, an online portal created by the Office of Scholarships at UTEP.

“We are using (ScholarMine) to help promote all of the scholarship opportunities that we know about, that we hear about, that we research, not just institutional scholarships but outside external scholarships,” said Elizabeth Dodd, director of Office of Scholarships.

Dodd said this portal was created to decrease the time students take to find a scholarship and to increase the number of students with scholarship money.

“Since I started working here, our funding has grown steadily,” Dodd said. “But what I kept hearing over and over again talking to students when they came to visit us is that they were not aware of the different scholarship opportunities they had.”

Dodd said her department will be contacting UTEP departments and colleges to help facilitate the process of finding a scholarship.

“Sometimes they have scholarships that they know of and they don’t tell us about,” Dodd said. “Hopefully they’ll start using it, and now we can advertise all scholarship information in one central location.”

Some students at UTEP said they have not heard about this new portal.

“No, this is the first time I’ve heard about it,” said Karina Ugarte, freshmen industrial engineering major. “I suppose it’s for that (not enough advertisement), they don’t do as much advertising like they do for other things.”

Dodd said she hopes students will use this portal and apply for as many scholarships as possible and to not assume they will not qualify because of their citizenship or GPA.

“Many of the times students don’t even bother to look for scholarships, they think that all scholarships have a certain GPA requirement or a certain citizenship requirement,” Dodd said. “Not all scholarships ask for those things.”

Arturo Schiaffino, a mechanical engineering graduate student, said international students do not receive the same scholarship opportunities compared to US nationals.

“As a Mexican student in UTEP, I feel there is not enough economic support for Mexican students,” Schiaffino said. “This could be fixed with more diffusion on the current available scholarships.”

All funding for scholarships at UTEP comes from donations made by alumni, foundations and corporations among other sources. Those donors select the requirements that have to be meet and the students eligible to receive the money.

“It’s up to them what type of student they want to support and sometimes it is a US citizen, a certain major or classification, and sometimes it’s open to everyone,” Dodd said. “There’s nothing we can do when donors choose the students they want to support.”

Dodd said she would like to provide students with more scholarships even with the increase in budget she has seen since she first started working at UTEP.

“I wish we had more, but when I first started working here we only had a $1.5-million budget and we’re at $13 million,” Dodd said. “I don’t think there’s ever going to be enough because all of our students need help.”

Dodd has considered a possible tuition fee increase, which would go directly to scholarships, she said this would allow UTEP to offer their own scholarships.

When tuition increased in 2016, a possible fee from the scholarship office was being considered by Dodd since all the money comes from donors, but she decided to wait.

“Tuition was already going to increase significantly that year so I didn’t want to add to that,” Dodd said. “I was going to wait for another year or two, when hopefully it wasn’t going to go up too much so I could then add a little more.”

Dodd said she will try again during the next budget cycle, which will have to be analyzed by the UT System and UTEP President Diana Natalicio.

“I know students have to deal with increasing tuition all the time so I would hate to do that. But maybe a very minimal fee just to get enough to start a foundation endowment, which usually takes a minimum of $25,000, but that only funds one student,” Dodd said.

Schiaffino thinks adding a fee to tuition would help students who have high economic needs.

“It would also promote a culture of solidarity between all of us,” Schiaffino said.

For more information, contact the scholarship office at 915-747-5478 or via email at [email protected]