Grants talk:PEG/Wikimedia New York City/2016 WikiConference USA scholarship program

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Scholarship review process[edit]

On December 8 I spoke with Rosiestep and took some notes of what she said.

She gave this advice on things to change from 2015:

  1. Eligibility for scholarship:
    1. Be clear that scholarships are for residents of US and Canada.
    2. All international applicants were turned down as there weren't enough funds for US/Canada applicants.
  2. Time management - Scholarship Committee workload:
    1. Review each US/Canada application
    2. Review each applicant's wiki presence
    3. Document findings in a rubric
    4. Sum scores
    5. At least one email per applicant. There were multiple emails with multiple applicants. Follow-up emails included Visa documentation requests (which were referred to James Hare), nudging those who did not respond immediately, and handling issues. We developed templates and they are available for future use.
    6. Video calls and emails with event organizers
    7. Maintaining/updating a google doc spreadsheet, which also included the email templates we developed.
  3. Time management - organizers' workload
    1. Reserve hotel block in advance to confirm expense
    2. Video chats with committee members
    3. Emails with scholarship committee, and scholarship awardees
    4. Allow for sufficient time for event organizers to receive paperwork from awardees in order to cut checks.
    5. Time to collect required documents from awardees (via fax or email), and cut checks. If the deadline to return forms is too close to the event date, the organizers have to deal with too many last-minute scholarship changes... and there are a sufficient amount of these
  4. Time management - scholarship awardees
    1. Shorten the period for awardee acceptance and paperwork completion to 7-10 days.
    2. If an awardee declines or is unresponsive, Tier Two scholarship rounds can be coordinated.
  5. It was not possible to determine what would constitute a Full Scholarship:
    1. Lodging had not been secured at the time the scholarship committee review was supposed to be completed.
    2. Travel arrangements for scholarship recipients was not being handled by event organizers, so it was not possible to say with certainty how much anyone would need in order to cover travel expenses.
  6. A Scholarship Committee with two members works well.
    1. Each US/Canada application was read, reviewed and discussed via video chat
    2. One reviewer also reviewed each applicant's wiki presence, while the other recorded information against into a rubric. The process was repeated for each applicant.
  7. After all US/Canada applications were reviewed, each applicant's scores were summed and the scores fell into one of three tiers.
    1. Those with the highest number of points were considered Tier One (yes)
    2. Those with fewer points were Tier Two (maybe for now; yes if there are additional funds)
    3. Those with the lowest scores were Tier Three (no).
    4. With $20,000 set aside for scholarships, it was determined that the top 32 applications were Tier One, 30 were Tier Two, and 60 were Tier Three.
  8. Amount of scholarship allotted:
    1. All Tier One applicants were offered partial scholarships based on geography.
    2. Those closest to the the conference site received less than those traveling from further away.
  9. In order to accept the scholarship, the awardee had to:
    1. Register to attend the event
    2. Complete and return required documents by a deadline
  10. Non-acceptance; partial acceptance; non-disbursed funds
    1. Two scholarship awardees were unable to attend, and most of their unused funds were redistributed to Second Tier applicants.
    2. One scholarship awardee requested that his scholarship be reduced to a lesser amount in order that certain tax consequence be avoided. We complied.
    3. Approximately $1,000 was not disbursed and was re-allocated to other areas of the conference. This occurred because of a last minute decline.

Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:56, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

  • I've made some clarifications and may return to this later. Adding Another Believer for additional feedback. --Rosiestep (talk) 15:50, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
    • I agree with all of the above. I think reserving a block of rooms is key, as is knowing whether or not scholarship recipients will be responsible for their own hotel accommodations of if they will be covered by scholarship funds. At the time we were making scholarship decisions, this was still being determined by other event organizers, which made it more difficult for us to know how much money to distribute to each individual. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope this will help future committees and conference organizers. -Another Believer (talk) 00:32, 12 December 2015 (UTC)