The IHS Scholarship Program had been experiencing challenges with paper applications and a significant number of ineligible submissions, limiting the program's reach and efficiency. To address these issues, the organization decided to transform the application process by implementing an online form, refining the user interface, and streamlining communication. This case study explores the strategies employed and the positive outcomes that resulted from these changes.


The IHS Scholarship Program grappled with several pressing challenges, including:

  • 1

    Limited geographic reach due to an over-reliance on paper applications.

  • 2

    A high number of ineligible applications burdening the review process.

  • 3

    Inefficient communication between applicants and staff.

  • 4

    Poor user experience and low completion rates for the application process.

What we did

  • 1
    Online Application Form

    In 2008, the IHS Scholarship Program introduced an online application form to broaden its reach. By 2011, paper submissions accounted for only 5% of total applications, significantly increasing awards in previously underrepresented states and improving scholarship management.

  • 2
    Business Rule Integration

    A robust business rule was integrated into the system to prevent ineligible applicants from applying. This change reduced the number of ineligible applications from thousands to hundreds, allowing analysts to focus on reviewing eligible applications more efficiently.

  • 3
    Workflow Process Implementation

    To improve transparency and communication, a workflow process was implemented for management and staff. This change enabled Area Scholarship Coordinators (ASC) to communicate more effectively with applicants, streamlining the application process.

  • 4
    User Interface Design and Section 508 Implementation

    By analyzing statistics on where applicants stopped in the completion process, the user interface was refined to make it more user-friendly and easy to complete. Section 508 was also implemented to ensure accessibility for all users.


The comprehensive approach to modernizing the IHS Scholarship Program yielded numerous benefits:

  • 1
    Increased Geographic Reach

    The online application form expanded the program's reach, resulting in more awards to students from previously underrepresented states.

  • 2
    Enhanced Efficiency

    The business rule integration significantly reduced the number of ineligible applications, allowing analysts to focus on eligible submissions.

  • 3
    Improved Communication

    The workflow process implementation streamlined communication between ASCs and applicants, making the application process more transparent and efficient.

  • 4
    User-friendly Interface

    The redesigned user interface, coupled with Section 508 implementation, provided a more inclusive and accessible experience for all applicants.


The transformation of the IHS Scholarship Program demonstrates the power of embracing technology and refining processes to improve efficiency, communication, and inclusivity. By implementing an online form, integrating a business rule, refining the user interface, and streamlining communication, the IHS Scholarship Program now provides a more accessible and efficient application process for students across the country.