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Kristen Cyr
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CCRI Foundation launches new scholarship system

Aug. 24, 2015

scholarship The CCRI Alumni Association provides book awards to students like these recent awardees each semester. Students can apply for book awards through a new online system.

Finding and applying for the CCRI Foundation’s 80-plus scholarship and award opportunities for full- and part-time students is easier than ever with a newly implemented secure electronic processing system.

STARS Online allows students to search, sort and apply for multiple scholarships at one time. The old system was a paper application process, lacking efficiency for users on both sides of the transaction, said Robin McDuff, coordinator for Institutional Advancement at the college.

“We were due for an upgrade,” she said.

The new system, which went live July 1, integrates with the CCRI Banner system, meaning there is less information for CCRI students to repeatedly upload as they apply for scholarships. McDuff said there would be a drastic reduction in paper trail; before, students had to mail a separate paper application to each scholarship committee. Now, those committees can review those electronic applications wherever they might be.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said McDuff.

Other functionality of the new system means that students won’t waste time applying for scholarships they aren’t qualified for or for scholarships whose deadlines have passed. Plus, said McDuff, many students using the old interface might not realize they were eligible for certain scholarships and awards. STARS Online has changed all that.

“Our hope is to get more students to apply for more scholarships,” she said.

Katherine Brito of North Kingstown, a single, working mother who relies on scholarships to help make ends meet, said she found the new system a breeze. She received two scholarships this year, including one from the Alumni Association.

“Scholarships are very important. I’m doing this all by myself, and I don’t really have extra cash to spend. I don’t want money to be the reason I don’t continue my education,” said Brito, who is earning her associate degree in Engineering and hopes to transfer to the University of Rhode Island. “If I were to have to get another job, it would mean that I wouldn’t be able to go to school.”

Fellow student Kristine Christensen of Coventry works full time in an architectural firm, and is working on her third college degree as she aspires to switch careers to physical therapy. “The new system makes everything much easier,” she said. “Right from the beginning, it has your personal information and shows you which scholarships you can qualify for.”

Christensen said that she relies on scholarships to help decrease the amount of debt she will have upon graduation. “I have to be able to afford my bills and my books and my tuition. Scholarships help me subsidize the cost of living while I go to school,” she said.

To access the new system online, which includes tutorials and contact information for troubleshooting, visit

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Last Updated: 8/25/16