UA Licenses Scholarship-Matching Software
Seven years ago, the University undertook the creation of an online service to help match students with scholarships. Today, that web-based technology is being commercialized to help hundreds of thousands of students.

By Paul Tumarkin, Tech Launch Arizona
July 25, 2016

Scholarship Universe_Team.jpg

The Scholarship Universe team : Ken Downs, program manager; Emily Romero; Rafael Garcia; don-E Merson, applications systems analyst/developer, principal/architect; and Sachin N. Nalavattanon.
The Scholarship Universe team : Ken Downs, program manager; Emily Romero; Rafael Garcia; don-E Merson, applications systems analyst/developer, principal/architect; and Sachin N. Nalavattanon. (from left)

In March 2009, the University of Arizona undertook the creation of an online service to save students time and increase their ability to attend college by matching them with scholarships.

The UA Student Affairs staff created and executed the system vision and algorithm, and hired students to support operations and development.

Now, with that web-based technology — called Scholarship Universe — having proved successful, the UA has licensed the system to the Phoenix company CampusLogic.

The CampusLogic mission is to "transform financial aid" and make higher education more accessible to students by simplifying the process of finding and obtaining college funding. In 2014, the company delivered the first cloud-based student engagement platform for financial aid; today, it has over 300,000 active students across nearly 50 colleges and universities.

"Developing a scholarship management product has been on our product road map for a while," says Gregg Scoresby, CEO of Campus Logic. "We were incredibly impressed with the UA's Scholarship Universe product, and it was clear to us that licensing their technology would accelerate our entrance into this market."

With this unique algorithm, Scholarship Universe is the only scholarship site that can match students with scholarships regardless of qualifications, unlike other sites that match only on common items such as GPA and major. Based on students' answers to hundreds of qualifying questions, the smart algorithm filters out scholarships that no longer are available, and also re-examines each student's profile regularly, emailing students when there are new questions needing answers or new scholarships available.

To date, UA students have used Scholarship Universe to find and secure thousands of UA and non-UA awards; according to UA Student Affairs, the system has linked students with more than $8 million in non-UA-affiliated funding opportunities since the implementation of the software program.

Scholarship Universe also has developed a highly sophisticated web application for departments to manage and award their scholarships to qualified students. It works seamlessly with the student site, making Scholarship Universe the most advanced end-to-end scholarship management platform in existence compared to other sites and products that focus only on one area.

Because of Scholarship Universe's impact, it was recognized with the University Business Models of Excellence Award in 2015, and was one of only two national recipients of the Campus Technology Innovators Award for Student Systems and Services in 2012.

"The commercialization of Scholarship Universe is another example of the innovative work we do at the UA blending the efforts of various departments to better support our students. We are excited about the possibilities for this partnership, and are proud to share our successes and initiatives with other institutions across the country," says Melissa Vito, senior vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management and senior vice provost for Academic Initiatives and Student Success.

Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UA that commercializes inventions stemming from University research, facilitated the process of protecting and licensing the intellectual property.

"As the costs of getting a higher education increase, providing more robust tools and services to help students fund their educations is essential," says Doug Hockstad, senior director of technology transfer at TLA. "We’re excited that the UA has both invested in this effort on behalf its own students, and that the technology is now going to a company that can bring it to the market, where it can positively impact so many more student lives."


Resources for the media

Paul Tumarkin

Tech Launch Arizona