Students discussed their experiences with maintaining finances and applying for scholarships while attending Seton Hall. Some said that although the university offers a significant amount in scholarships, they still struggle financially.
“I do not think Seton Hall provides enough opportunities for scholarships once students arrive on campus and begin their education,” said Kathleen McQuarrie, a senior public relations and journalism major. “I personally think it is unproductive to solely offer funding that is dependent on high school achievements.”
Certain scholarships are offered to current undergraduate and graduate students as well. These range from scholarships in certain programs, like music or diplomacy, to aid open to all students. An extensive list can be found on the Office of Financial Aid page on the Seton Hall website.
Francesca Phillippy is an external scholarship and fellowship adviser at Seton Hall who helps students hunt for scholarships while in school. Phillippy said she edits resumes and writing samples and researches scholarships, which she compiles into “easy-to-understand” lists for students.
Phillippy said when prospective students are accepted to Seton Hall, they are offered an initial scholarship based on factors such as high GPA, high SAT scores, potential leadership ability and impact on their communities. However, that may not be enough to accumulate over four years of study, she said.
Phillippy said a big mistake students make in the application process is not putting their personality into the application. “[Students] put in what they think someone is going to want and not who they actually are,” Phillippy said. “They’re trying to give money to you because they’re trying to understand who you are, so why would you try to be someone that you’re not?”
However, some students said that external scholarships can be tough to manage and navigate. “If Seton Hall offered more funding or scholarship opportunities to students who worked hard and achieve greatness during their college years, retention rates could go up and students could leave this university with less regret and less extreme debt,” McQuarrie said.
William Bernier, a freshman criminal justice major in the ROTC, shared his thoughts on the scholarship experience. “It’s like I’m getting paid to ultimately pay my debts,” Bernier said. He explained that he is faced with the standard army scholarship requirements, but the motivation to maintain a full ride makes keeping up with those requirements less difficult.
“A scholarship is for the future, not for now,” Phillippy said. “A lot of students who need their tuition paid for the current semester will come to me, but there is unfortunately nothing I can do. Financial planning is planning. It’s not for you right this second, it’s for next semester or next year.”
Despite the opportunities offered to students, most of them said they still struggle financially. According to CNBC, 70 percent of college students graduate with a significant amount of debt.
McQuarrie said, “I love this school but my number one grievance upon graduation is the scholarship and funding at this university.”
Elise Kerim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.