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Supporting Students & Faculty Projects More Efficiently With Grants Software

Ditching emails and attachments for good, Ball State University turned the grant review process from a logistical nightmare to a cloud-based dream

The Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) at Ball State University engenders knowledge by awarding grants to students and faculty members to fund research, creative pursuits, and academic scholarship. But relying on a shared email account and wading through hundreds of attachments made giving away money a horrible grind, especially when it came to its Aspire Internal Grants Programs and internal competitions.

Submittable has helped streamline our processes, reduce redundancies, and increase efficiencies, specifically in the review process.

Justin Miller

Special Projects Administration Director, Ball State University 

Supporting student and faculty development

SPA is a robust office, distributing roughly $400,000 per year to faculty and students through internal grants. Last fiscal year, SPA received 305 applications, made 232 internal awards, and included over 50 individuals in its panel review process.

Until 2017, the team used a single, centralized email account to receive grant applications across categories via attachments (ranging from a single document to nearly 50 documents per applicant, depending on the competition). Each review process involved multiple rounds of sorting, downloading, compiling, and uploading, as well as a final meeting often necessitated by errors and missing reviews.

Cultivating quality, saving time, and feeling good 

“For us, using Submittable is as feel-good as it is time-saving,” Justin Miller says. “Whereas reviewing used to be cumbersome, from a qualitative perspective, the reviewers really enjoy the process now.” Justin and his team also like the ease with which they can ensure submitted proposals are compliant (by using mandatory fields) and reviews are completed, all in one place.

Easily navigating over 50 types of files 

Because SPA’s grant applications span a variety of disciplines, Submittable’s ability to accept and natively view 50+ file types is essential. The capability to embed a custom table is also important for the team to ensure budget spreadsheets arrive in a standard format. Not to mention that what Justin calls “this monster of a cover sheet” SPA used to require is now a simple series of fields in the application form. From start to finish, Submittable has simplified and improved SPA’s internal grants process, an award system that serves to improve opportunities for many at Ball State University.

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