You may have heard this heartwarming story before: when Ria Collingwood left her hometown Trinidad and Tobago for New York City five years ago, she had just $300 in cash — not even enough to buy herself books for her first semester of college.
But fortunately for Collingwood, BMCC offers upwards of $1 million in scholarships.
“BMCC is the kind of college that recognizes there are students like me, who can’t even afford a relatively inexpensive college education,” Collingwood said just before graduating this past spring. “It is an institution that sees the need to transform my $300 into almost $3,000 to cover a priceless experience and afford me the chance to graduate in two years.”
Collingwood went on to Stanford University, and this fall she has started her pursuit of an all-expenses-paid Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge in England after being the first person of Trinidad and Tobago to receive the Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
And luckily for students, all of the information Collingwood was able take advantage can now be found online, at BMCC’s redesigned scholarship Web site.
“The office’s mission is to ensure that every eligible BMCC student seeks out and applies for a scholarship,” said office director Sussie Gyamfi.
The way the office (located in S-343) does that is by providing students with relevant scholarship information, conducting application workshops, and offering counseling and advisement sessions on how to obtain scholarships.
But while a Web site is the easiest way to disperse information — students can be pointed there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year — BMCC’s old scholarship site was a long, tangled messy list.
“Students had to go through all the 300 scholarships on the website to find the ones that they qualify for, which is time consuming and frustrating. We needed a new Web site to make the scholarship search simple,” said Gyamfi. “With the new Web site, they type their qualification — or a key word or phrase — and all the scholarships that fit that qualification will come up instead of going through the whole database. It will make the scholarship search a lot easier.”
And that will help in what Gyamfi said the office’s mission is: to give every eligible student a scholarhip,
“The goal is to have every eligible student at least apply for one scholarship,” she said, “so if the website is easy to access, it will encourage more students to apply.”