Case Study: Regional Public University in the Midwest

September 2021


To develop a new scholarship awarding rubric.


A regional public university in the Midwest currently uses a publicly available rubric of ACT or SAT score and high school GPA to determine academic merit scholarship amounts for entering students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions are forgoing their longstanding ACT and SAT score requirements for admissions, including this institution. The institution could receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications without ACT scores. Students may appeal to receive a scholarship if an ACT score is not available, which includes a written narrative. Blue Icon was asked to develop a new scholarship awarding rubric, which meets stated enrollment goals, while allowing the institution to evaluate scholarship eligibility without the use of ACT scores and to limit the time spent reading narratives.


Blue Icon consultants reviewed current scholarship-related processes, applications, and appeal policies and procedures. We also interviewed staff involved in recruiting, student search, application, and scholarship awarding processes. "The consultants had a good understanding of resources that public institutions have to finance scholarships," said the director of financial aid said. "We didn't have to spend time on defining terms like with other consultants."

Additionally, we conducted extensive data analysis on prospects, inquiries, applicants for the institution's population, as well as scholarship data for awarded, matriculated, and retained students. "I learned a lot from observing high-ability professionals talk about enrollment data and demonstrate what that data can do for you," the vice chancellor of enrollment management and marketing said.

Together with institution's staff, the consultants explored various scholarship models, assisted with delivering presentations to leadership, and adjusted the final rubric based on feedback received.

"Blue Icon provided several options and gave us the tools to implement; other consulting firms would have presented one option and charged for implementation," the financial aid director said. "We really appreciate Blue Icon's incredible integrity."


"I was impressed with the ability to put so much information into a presentation and have the message remain clear," the vice chancellor said. Blue Icon Advisors created and assisted with implementing a well-researched comprehensive merit scholarship strategy, including a "plug and play" scholarship awarding rubric for the institution to use in awarding its 2022-23 entering class. "The data is now our ‘Bible' and is accessible to everyone," the financial aid director said. "Blue Icon consultants are worth their weight in gold." 


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Publication Date: 11/4/2021

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