The Summit Foundation

Moving a scholarship application and review process online

The Summit Foundation, a community foundation in Breckenridge, Colorado, partners with local school districts to offer scholarships to students graduating from local high schools. Since 1991, The Foundation’s scholarship program has awarded over $2.6 million to more than 1,000 local high school graduates.

In 2015, The Summit Foundation began using FluidReview to collect, manage and review applications for all of their annual scholarship programs, in addition to over 70 other local scholarship donors.

“We went from paper to FluidReview, and it’s made a huge difference. Our scholarship application and review process used to be really cumbersome for everyone, but moving it online has made it incredibly simple for applicants and reviewers, and has saved our staff a ton of time.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

The Challenge

Before FluidReview, the Summit School District’s local scholarship programs had a paper-based application process. Students were required to print off, complete and submit paper applications for each scholarship that they were applying for.

“Students would fill out applications by hand, and if they wanted to apply for 40 scholarships, they’d have to make at least 40 copies. They would have to pay for all of these copies, and then manually drop off their applications along with any additional requirements, like essays and reference letters, at the high school. It was a very cumbersome process”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

Administrators and high school staff then had to organize stacks of paper applications and manually input information from applications into spreadsheets. Once that was done, they would bundle up all of the paper applications and distribute them to individual scholarship reviewers.

“It was really burdensome for all involved, especially the staff at the high school that had to manage this entire process.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

The Solution

The Summit Foundation and Summit School District knew that they had to streamline their process to make it more efficient. After considering a variety of online solutions, they decided to implement FluidReview.

“The ease of use, customization, reporting capabilities and customer service sold us on FluidReview.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

With FluidReview’s simple and intuitive application portal, students can now easily complete scholarship applications online. They can quickly apply to individual, or multiple, scholarship opportunities and are able to easily fill out application forms, upload supporting documents, request reference letters, and even save in-progress applications, in one place. The process of applying to scholarships has been made much more straightforward.

“The response has been really positive in the community. Everyone is pleased with the new application system. Going from paper to FluidReview has made a huge difference.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

For administrators, FluidReview has drastically reduced the manual, redundant tasks they struggled with in the past. Administrators no longer need to sift through and organize boxes of paper applications, and there is no longer a need to manually enter application data into a spreadsheet. Incoming applications are now automatically validated, sorted and assigned to reviewers.

“Being able to pull data directly from the system instead of having to manually input information into spreadsheets has made a really big difference. It has saved us a ton of time, and we don’t have to worry about human error. Plus, because we don’t have to deal with as much paper, we hope to shift our deadlines to give students even more time to submit applications. It’s great to have that ability now.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

With FluidReview in place, the review process has also been greatly improved. Reviewers no longer receive boxes of paper applications to review, and instead, a secure online review portal has been set up. They’re able to login and evaluate applications with the click of a button and can easily make comments on submissions, fill out evaluation forms, and submit rankings.

“We had 72 different reviewer groups, so it was a huge project. Each group had multiple reviewers so it was quite a process to engage everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised at how positive it all was.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

And while embarking on and making such a large change to an application and review process can always be stressful, the entire process turned out to be seamless.

“The FluidReview team is incredible. Whenever I have a question, I always receive a response in 5 or 10 minutes. I have been blown away by the levels of support provided.”
– Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

“FluidReview has been refreshingly wonderful. With this new system, it’s so much easier to apply and review. It really has worked for everybody.”
– Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner