Category Archives: scholarships

Scholarship Season


Spring break is upon us!  Over the next few days, Ferris State students will scatter to various warm climates for spring break next week.  When the RMI students return in mid-March, they will be facing several imminent scholarship deadlines.  The amount of scholarship assistance that is available to today’s RMI student is impressive, uplifting, and dare I say, overwhelming.  The ever-growing list of RMI scholarships certainly reflects the industry’s urgent need for young talent, and that should speak volumes to those students and parents still contemplating an academic and career direction.

Many of these scholarships have springtime application deadlines so that awards may be made during May for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year.  This time of year, I receive multiple scholarship opportunities each week that I pass along to my RMI students.  As I have blogged in the past, there are also several online resources (including our own partial list) that will help students to find RMI scholarships.  There is absolutely no reason that a diligent student cannot find at least some scholarship assistance for their RMI education.

All of this is good.  Or is it?  Let me return to my prior use of the word “overwhelming” as it relates to these scholarships.  There are so many scholarship opportunities from every type of RMI organization imaginable, that students seem to be “freezing up” when it comes to applying for these scholarships.  With so many opportunities, it becomes difficult for the individual student to discern which opportunities afford them the best chance of receiving an award, and with limited time to crank out scholarship applications, they can apply for only so many.  In fact, this is beginning to be noticed by the awarding organizations as I have begun to receive queries from some scholarship sponsors as to why their application numbers are lower than expected.  To be clear, I don’t think that’s a universal condition as many of the established and well-known scholarships continue to receive plenty of applicants and award their scholarships only to the most deserving students.  It seems to be the newer, lesser-known scholarships that are struggling to find applicants.

This is a real shame because these sponsoring organizations have funds to help students, and they really do want to bolster the young talent coming into the industry.  I hesitate to say that there may be an over-supply of RMI scholarships because that almost feels blasphemous.  How could there ever be an over-supply of such a fantastic thing as scholarship money when tuition and book costs continue to rise?

I have an idea.  What if some of these scholarship sponsoring organizations who are struggling to generate applicants diverted those scholarships funds for a few years?  Instead of begging for student applicants, put the funds into the hands of the collegiate RMI programs to use for program marketing and enrollment growth initiatives.  More RMI students enrolled at schools equals more future scholarship applicants.  Now, you might argue that the scholarships themselves should be a powerful recruiting tool for boosting RMI enrollment.  Absolutely true, but there is much more to the student decision to major in RMI and I believe that the individual RMI schools are in the best position to convey the overall value proposition (including abundant scholarship opportunities) to prospective students – but not many schools have budgeted funds specifically for marketing their RMI academic programs.

This could be an interesting short-term tactical shift for some scholarship sponsors that pays off with a long-term strategic success of awarding more scholarships to the most deserving students (however each awarding organization may define that) a few years down the road.

Congratulations Corey


This is perhaps one of the most gratifying parts of my job as a collegiate educator.  Recognizing student accomplishments and achievements is the payoff after observing the intellectual growth of students over time.  As the father of three adult daughters, I am very familiar with the sense of pride that comes with recognizing the early successes of young people.

The subject of my pride and congratulations today is Ferris State University student Corey Bledsoe who just learned that he has been selected as an Anita Benedetti Scholar for the upcoming RIMS annual conference in New Orleans.  Corey is a dual major in actuarial science and also risk management and insurance, and he is President of the Gamma Iota Sigma-Upsilon Chapter at Ferris State.  Corey is now making plans to attend the RIMS conference with his costs covered by RIMS and he will participate in a special program track designed for the Anita Benedetti Scholars.

This RIMS program is very competitive and Corey should be very proud of his selection, as am I.  He will represent Ferris State’s Risk Management and Insurance academic programs very well, and I know that he will make some valuable contacts and learn a great deal through his participation in this program.  Well done Corey! Congratulations!

Scholarships aplenty


Providing yet another bit of evidence that the risk and insurance industry is encouraging young people to consider insurance careers, it has been a busy week in terms of scholarship news.  Business Insurance just reported that the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation awarded over $100,000 in scholarships last year.   Locally, there are several scholarships offered by insurance agencies and professional organizations.  Just this week, I had a conversation with a representative of the Muskegon Adjusters Association, a professional organization of West Michigan claim adjusters.  This organization wants to begin awarding annual scholarships to Ferris State students of risk management and insurance.

From my perspective, there is no more clear statement that the industry wishes to attract talented, young professionals than the multitude of industry organizations who are willing to pay for students to gain an education in the field.  I keep a list (which seems to be getting longer and longer) of scholarship opportunities on my desk, ready to share with students.  So come and get it.  The money for your risk and insurance education is out there – just waiting for deserving and dedicated students to claim it

Mining for Scholarships


Understatement alert…  A college education is not an inexpensive commodity.

Fortunately, there are literally thousands of scholarship opportunities available to students who are willing to seek these opportunities and apply for them.  For those students interested in pursuing an education and career in the risk management and insurance profession, there are several scholarship opportunities from a variety of groups who recognize the need to attract young talent to the industry.

I want to personally and publicly congratulate two Ferris State University students who have earned scholarships from the Michigan Adjusters Association: Sarah Scobey and Scott Sawyer.  Both Sarah and Scott continue to excel in their Ferris State academic work and they should be proud that an association of insurance industry professionals recognizes their potential and is willing to invest in them with these scholarship funds.

Scott Sawyer also earned another scholarship a few months back.  Scott was awarded a scholarship from the Westran Insurance Scholarship Foundation.  This is another testament to Scott’s academic achievements and potential as a future insurance professional.  Congratulations to Sarah and Scott!

There are many other scholarship opportunities available to students of risk management and insurance.  Gamma Iota Sigma provides a handy scholarship deadline tool.  There are also scholarships available from the Insurance Scholarship Foundation of America, InVEST Program, and Spencer Educational Foundation, just to name a few.

Go get some money!