The Scholarship Expert was founded by recent Western Michigan University graduate, Alexis Lenderman and later partnered by Western Michigan University senior, Justin Black. The organization provides support for students and parents to learn how to maximize the money they can receive from scholarships to pay for college.
“Our top goals for society through our business are reducing student debt, allowing students to develop in their careers, and quickly being able to contribute to the economy,” said Black. The goals outlined by Black coincide with the UN Sustainability Goals. The goals include Quality Education, Economic Growth, and Reducing Inequalities.
Quality Education: Striving to provide students access to funding for the learning experiences they need to succeed. This is the fundamental root of The Scholarship Expert.
Economic Growth: Reducing student loan debt and allowing them to focus more on fully developing their career and becoming contributors to the economy.
Reducing Inequalities: Through its net positive impact. This includes teaching, mentoring, and the advancement of people through gaining funding for opportunities for growth and career development.
Western Michigan University
The innovation of this service came from Lenderman. During her college career, Lenderman learned how and where to gain scholarships to fund her learning journey. Over the course of her years in college, she gained $200,000 and was able to participate in 8 study abroad trips. In 2016, she decided to create The Scholarship Expert. She began the Scholarship Expert program by giving presentations to help students and organizations access the resources for learning opportunities, such as courses, workbooks, and even mentoring.
Along the way, she met Justin Black senior at Western Michigan University who became part of the business. During his college career Black earned 170,000$ in scholarships and attended 5 study abroad trips. Because of his passion for study abroad, Black decided to begin putting together his own study abroad program. They both became leaders in the study abroad sector at Western Michigan University by mentoring students looking for funding while maintaining The Scholarship Expert.
An upbringing in foster care fueled the success of the two. Through their experiences, they saw the need to strive for more convenient access to higher education. They originally focused their quest for more access to education on foster care youth. This; however, was just their starting point. They quickly realized that the demand for education extended far beyond foster care. Their mission could benefit many demographics. After Lenderman finished her job in Washington D.C. working for The College Promise Campaign under the Obama Initiative, she came back to focus on her business and push her project forward in November 2019. This led her to continue giving presentations across the country, growing and expanding the wealth of knowledge to continue to empower others along their journeys to higher education.
The mission of The Scholarship Expert positions students to graduate debt-free while obtaining the necessary skills to maximize their college experience academically, professionally, and personally. This gives students of all backgrounds an opportunity to take the next step in their learning journeys and careers. Post College, the program allows them to not bear the burden of student loans. Helping the economy flourish by creating a booming cycle of knowledge, and reducing staggering student debt.
The pair attributes a great deal of their success to partnerships. Being able to collaborate and host workshops for different schools, groups, and organizations has grown their business immensely. They’ve recently developed a partnership with The Promise Foundation of Kalamazoo, which strives to promote higher education in the Kalamazoo area by devoting themselves to covering the cost of 4- year tuition at Western Michigan University to any individual who graduates from Kalamazoo Public Schools. Linderman and Black also collaborate with other community partners and fellow mentors within their networks to foster knowledge of these resources at even younger ages.
Customers of The Scholarship Expert gain a 360-degree value in growth. They are equipped with books and resources that enhance their learning, along with leadership from Lenderman and Black. The Scholarship Expert strives to reduce student’s student loan debt and allow them to focus more on fully developing within their careers, becoming contributors to the economy while having a greater role in the economy after college.
Lenderman and Black have created benefits for society through the outreach to education. They plan to improve education levels in families and households of all walks of life to better the community around them. This allows students to more easily find their passions and set career goals. The Scholarship Expert is monumental for all people and communities that need help gaining resources to take leaps in education. The value is constantly increasing its spread; thus, allowing dreams to thrive. By having their focus in helping others succeed, the pair have become humanitarians, and have set an example of how businesses should strive to operate, using their resources to better the community around them, as opposed to only existing to make a profit.
I’d like to thank Justin Black for his time and insights in allowing me to learn more about The Scholarship Expert and thank Both Alexis Lenderman and Justin Black for helping give others the great gift of opportunity.
For more information, check out The Scholarship Expert Website: thescholarshipexpert.com/
Justin Black, Director of Communications
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Kalamazoo, MI, US
Business Website: thescholarshipexpert.com/
Year Founded: 2016
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
The Scholarship Expert's mission is to position students to graduate debt-free while obtaining the necessary skills to maximize their college experience academically, professionally, and personally. They do this by having courses, workbooks, and personally mentoring students on how to find and apply for scholarships.