Case Study: Ellucian PATH

Fall 2020


To build and launch a new national scholarship program for students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.


On June 8, 2020, Ellucian announced the launch of the PATH scholarship (Progress, Accomplishment, Thriving, Hope) and global awareness campaign to provide financial assistance to students experiencing economic hardship, ensuring the continuation of their education. The initial goal of the scholarship was to provide immediate assistance to at-risk students who needed additional funds to remain in school during the 2020-21 academic year. Ellucian approached Blue Icon Advisors for assistance in developing the scholarship program with a goal of distributing $500,000 to two-year public institutions for the fall of 2020.


The Blue Icon team, including principal consultant Tony Erwin, and independent consultants Myrna Perkins from Barton Community College and JoEllen Price from Houston Community College, conducted secondary research and created the scholarship application requirements, selection criteria, distribution method, and reporting specifications to make an immediate impact on student enrollment for the fall 2020 term. To meet Ellucian's timeline, the consulting team designed a block grant program with substantial flexibility for institutions to quickly target PATH funding to their students with the most urgent funding needs.

After the public launch of the PATH scholarship application in early October, Blue Icon worked with Ellucian to recruit and support a volunteer scholarship selection committee. The committee included five financial aid and industry professionals who read and scored the 164 applications with logistical support from Blue Icon.


The PATH Scholarship selection committee chose 25 two-year public institutions to receive funds. Each institution received $20,000 to make awards of up to $2,000 to individual students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. A total of 680 students received funding. For more information about the impact of the first year of PATH, please visit:

Jordan Schulman, chief of staff to Ellucian's president and CEO, commented that "Blue Icon was an integral partner in the success of PATH in the first year."

Watch this video from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, one of the institutions that participated in PATH.

Next Steps

At the end of 2020, Ellucian created the PATH Foundation to continue to support the educational goals of higher education students most at risk of dropping out of school.

The Foundation has continued its partnership with Blue Icon Advisors to support the second year of PATH Scholarship funding. For 2021, PATH funding will be awarded to domestic four-year public institutions and is expanding internationally to several countries. Application materials will be available to interested institutions in June 2021.


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Publication Date: 5/17/2021

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