Demographic questions in scholarship application?

DaraGannonDaraGannon Posts: 29 ✭✭✭
First Compass Anniversary 5 Likes Name Dropper 5 Up Votes
edited October 2022 in Grants & Scholarships

Hi everyone,

Do you ask demographic questions as part of your scholarship application? We have not included a demographic section, but starting next year, we plan to add optional questions at the beginning of the application to better understand who is applying and receiving our scholarships.

Initially, I planned to use the student responses only as disaggregated data for reporting purposes. Now I'm wondering if we might want to use some information to prioritize certain students, such as first-generation college students. Either way, I don't think the committee should be privy to this information to avoid potential bias.

If you do ask demographic questions, would you share a sample?

Do you use these questions only for data collection, or are the responses part of the review process?

Anything else we should consider before adding demographics? Thanks in advance!


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    KatieMcConvilleKatieMcConville Posts: 11 ✭✭
    Name Dropper First Compass Anniversary First Comment 5 Likes
    edited October 2022

    Hi! We included questions about demographic data 3 years ago both for collection of data and eligibility for certain scholarships - some applications are specific to first gen college students etc.

    We worded the questions exactly as are on the US Census so that we can compare our applicant pool to census data. (We did add additional questions about gender identity and family that are NOT in the census). This has helped tremendously when we look at the pool of applicants and recipients at the end of each year - I can see what groups of students we are missing from our applicant pool or who I am not reaching through traditional marketing methods. I can also identify biases when I compare recipient demographic data to applicant data. Foundant makes it SO easy to run reports to help with this!

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    MadiSyringMadiSyring Posts: 11 ✭✭✭
    CSuite Regional Training 5 Likes First Comment
    edited April 2023

    Hi @DaraGannon!

    We do ask some demographic questions on our application as part of our DEI initiative for data purposes at this point in time.

    On the application, we ask about gender identity (male, female, nonbinary); if they are a first-generation college student; and for a portrait photo (for publications). We do note very intentionally that answers to these questions will not be used to make any scholarship determinations and we have the questions set as applicant-facing so that evaluators cannot access this information when making decisions.

    We also undergo a blind review process, so applicant names are hidden and instead, they have an applicant ID.

    On our follow-up forms, we ask about race/ethnicity and gender identity again. We compare this data from year to year.

    We have not yet worked out whether we want to use this data in different ways when it comes to equitable awarding. We are still looking for more discussion in that space. If you know of any CFs who have embedded equitable awarding processes, please let me know!!

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