EUREKA – When Eureka College held its 160th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, six Uniquely Eureka Promise students donned caps and gowns for the first time.
Through the Uniquely Eureka Promise program, Jacob Baldwin, Kerri Berry, Jesse Boyles, Ismael Cordova, Chris Daniels and Olivia Roach all attained their bachelor's degrees tuition-free. This group followed Rachael Klaus, who became the first Promise student to graduate from Eureka last year, and precedes Fabian Saldana, who will finish his degree in August.
All of them transferred to Eureka College in 2019 after earning their associate’s degree from an accredited Illinois community college. Together, they make up the first cohort of graduates from Eureka College’s Uniquely Eureka Promise, a scholarship program that promises to provide financial relief to academically successful students who are in financial need.
The Promise program is available for transfer students from Illinois who have completed an associate's degree from an accredited community college and meet the needs-based eligibility requirements.
“The Promise program has offered me the opportunity to continue my education without having to worry about being able to afford it,” said Berry, the first Promise student to graduate with Magna Cum Laude honors. “It has also given me the ability to see my potential.”
The Eureka Promise also includes a tuition-free program for a growing list of Illinois high school students who meet the academic and financial need requirements. For instance, it recently added Henry-Senachwine High School, Prairie Central High School, Stark County High School and Pontiac Township High School.
The other high schools included in the Promise are: Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School, Dunlap High School, East Peoria Community High School, El Paso-Gridley Community High School, Eureka High School, Fieldcrest High School, Flanagan-Cornell High School, Illinois Valley Central High School, Limestone High School, Lowpoint-Washburn High School, Metamora High School, Morton High School, Olympia High School, Roanoke-Benson High School, Tremont High School and Washington Community High Schools.
Some of the eligibility requirements for the students from these IL high schools includes: a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher; U.S. citizenship for at least a year; eligible to receive State of Illinois MAP grant and Federal Pell grant as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and volunteer 40 hours with the college over the course of four school years (see website for all eligibility requirements: eureka.edu/admissions-and-financial-aid/accepted-students/the-uniquely-eureka-promise.
"We created the Uniquely Eureka Promise in 2018 to support the many amazing students across the state, transfer and high school, who desire but simply cannot afford the cost of earning a bachelor's degree," Eureka College President Dr. Jamel Wright said. “As families continue to grapple with the financial and other challenges of this global pandemic, we are even more pleased to offer this tuition-free opportunity to students across our state and for students in partnering out-of-state districts.”
The Eureka Promise is also open to incoming high school graduates who reside outside of the state of Illinois and attend Kankakee Valley High School (Wheatfield, Ind.), Ritenour High School (St. Louis, Mo.), any Hazelwood School District High School (St. Louis Metro, Mo.) and International High School of New Orleans (La.).
Applicants must also meet all deadline dates. To be eligible for the fall semester, admission applications must be submitted by July 1. To be eligible for the spring semester, admission applications must be submitted by Dec. 1.
For more information on the Uniquely Eureka Promise, contact the Eureka College Admissions Office at email@example.com, call 1-888-438-7352 or visit eureka.edu/admissions-and-financial-aid/accepted-students/the-uniquely-eureka-promise.
Located in Eureka, Illinois, and chartered in 1855, Eureka College cultivates excellence in learning, service and leadership while providing students uniquely personalized and custom educational opportunities.
Originally founded by abolitionist members of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Eureka College holds the unique distinction of being the first college in Illinois and one of the first in the nation to admit men and women on an equal basis. The College, which is located on nearly 70 wooded acres in central Illinois, is the smallest of only 24 colleges and universities to ever award a bachelor’s degree to a future President of the United States.