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TREKKING ALONG – A student walks by Burrus Dickinson Hall on the Eureka College campus in early February of 2017 (For the Journal/Lenore Sobota).

EUREKA – A new financial aid program, Uniquely Eureka Promise, offers two years of free tuition to needy community college graduates who transfer to Eureka College. According to spokesperson Brittany Parker, the program is aimed at students who might not have the financial ability to complete a bachelor's degree after their associate’s degree.

Applicants are required to be Illinois residents who have completed an associate’s degree from an accredited community college with a cumulative unweighted grade point average of at least a 2.8 on a 4.0 scale.

They also must be eligible to receive an Illinois Monetary Award Program grant and a federal Pell grant as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and have a FAFSA Estimated Family Contribution of $1,000 or less.

 “It is designed for students with financial need who have already proven themselves to be successful,” Parker said.

It is the latest program playing off the "Uniquely Eureka" theme that boasts about what sets EC apart from other schools.

Those accepted into the Uniquely Eureka Promise program must commit to 40 volunteer hours with the college over the course of two school years.

EC is working closely with Peoria Promise and Illinois Central College, but the program is not exclusively for students of those schools.

According to financial aid director Tammy Crothers, EC officials are also talking with other community colleges in the area.

She is pleased to see the college roll out a program like this for students. “that recognizes their hard work so they can continue their education.”

In announcing the new initiative at a Peoria Promise Foundation event, EC President Jamel Wright said, “Not only does the Uniquely Eureka Promise offer two years tuition free to qualifying transfer students in Illinois, but this initiative also provides Peoria-area students the opportunity to invest in their future by obtaining a bachelor's degree without the burden of student loan debt.”

The program will begin with the spring 2019 incoming class.

Crothers encouraged students to complete their FAFSA as soon as possible.

More information is available on the college's website, www.eureka.edu or by contacting Chris Robinson, assistant dean of admissions/transfer student coordinator, (309) 467-6344.

Enrollment at EC this fall is 570, which includes 211 new students.

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