Department Scholarships Boost Student Confidence
What’s something you love about your job?
If you ask employees at BYU Human Resource Services, they might tell you about the scholarships they give each year to student employees.
Rebecca Gridley chairs the committee that vets the student applications each year—one of many hats she wears at HR, but also one of her favorites.
“This is my favorite committee to serve on. Helping out a struggling student warms your heart,” says Gridley. “I wish we could help every one of them.”
Employee participation is high in the department, and the range of giving varies based on individual circumstances. Most of the donations come through payroll deduction and the amounts are kept confidential. The number of scholarships and the amounts given varies by year, but usually HR gives two or three scholarships annually.
During the pandemic in 2020 the number of applications was high. Then again, surprisingly, so were the donations. “We actually had additional donations during the COVID-19 situation when the need was higher,” she says. “Some people gave of their stimulus money. We have very generous employees.”
“This is my favorite committee to serve on. Helping out a struggling student warms your heart. I wish we could help every one of them.”- Rebecca Gridley
Each year all the student employees in the department are invited to apply for a scholarship. They write an essay explaining how the scholarship will help them succeed. The application is weighted about 60 percent on merit, 30 percent on need, and 10 percent on a supervisor review.
The students are always grateful and sometimes emotional.
“I remember one student who just got married. It was an emotional moment for her,” says Gridley. “We’ve had students who’ve encountered financial hardships—parents who were sick or who had lost jobs. For others, it gives them a boost of confidence.”
Department-sponsored scholarships have been successful in part because staff members interact with the student employees regularly, creating a connection that gives added meaning to the gift. At Human Resource Services, many of the students are pursuing a career in human resources, which further reinforces the connection.
“Our employees love BYU,” says Gridley. “They love working at Human Resource Services, and they love our students.”