EKU Launches BEACON Program to Enhance Student Accessibility, Affordability, Math and Science Scholarship
In an effort to make a college education affordable and accessible, attract more students into math and science professions and enhance retention and graduation rates, President Joanne Glasser unveiled today a bold, new financial assistance program.
Glasser believes that BEACON, an acronym for “Bringing Educational Access to the Commonwealth and Our Nation,” reinforces Eastern’s “historic reputation as a ‘School of Opportunity’ and a partner in the dreams of generations of students and families.”
“It is my intention as president, and our intention as a university, to make sure that no student is ever turned away for financial reasons,” Glasser said. “Because 21st Century Kentuckians are looking for the light and hope that only educational opportunities can bring, we are proud to unveil today the EKU BEACON Program.”
The initiatives of the program include:
- EKU Regional Scholars are full-tuition scholarships for those full-time, first-year students from EKU’s 22-county primary service region. Students must have completed a college prep curriculum and meet certain academic and family income requirements. This scholarship will assist the neediest students in the University’s primary service region, which covers Southeastern Kentucky and parts of Central Kentucky. According to Glasser, the University plans to offer 375 scholarships this coming year and more than 1,000 by 2010-11.
“We can not and must not turn our backs on the greatest need of our service region — quality higher education at an affordable cost,” Glasser said.
“Yes, we want to be a university of national distinction, but first and foremost, we want to be a source of regional pride — a place where students are encouraged and assisted in their pursuit of a better life. The Commonwealth can only advance as quickly as Southeastern Kentucky moves forward, and we want to be that catalyst.”
- As an incentive to attract more students into science- and math-related professions and meet a critical state and national need, the University will support 22 BEACON Scholars. These scholars, one from each of EKU’s primary service region counties, will have demonstrated overall academic excellence throughout their high school curricula and will have chosen study in the fields of mathematics and/or science. The academic requirements to qualify as a BEACON Scholar are rigorous, as are the requirements to retain status as a BEACON Scholar. Students will be provided tuition, housing, board and books.
“As the importance of technology has increased in recent years, the number of young people interested in math and science has actually declined,” Glasser said. “The BEACON scholarship initiative will complement two bills before the General Assembly this session designed to reverse that dangerous trend and move math and science education in our high schools forward. As a Commonwealth, we simply must take bold action now to better prepare our young people to succeed in a high-tech, knowledge-based world.”
Glasser said that over time, as the BEACON Scholars program becomes established, it is hoped that more students will be inspired to enter these important fields of study, and the University can respond with additional BEACON Scholar awards.
- A Scholastic Opportunity Grant for those first-time, full-time undergraduates whose family income falls at 150 percent or below the national poverty level. The grant will provide the differential between the direct costs of tuition, housing and books, and federal and state grants. The University, said Glasser, anticipates providing 500 of these grants this coming year and as many as 2,000 by 2010-11.
- Scholarships for students who transfer from a KCTCS institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 through at least 24 hours of course work. EKU plans to award 200 of these half-tuition scholarships this coming academic year and raise that to 350 by 2010-11. Last year, in order to provide a more seamless transition to Eastern, the University opened the first transfer center at a college or university in the Commonwealth.
- The fifth and final initiative is the “Cover to Cover” program that will provide a textbook allowance of up to $800 per year for 300 qualified students this coming year and up to 1,200 by 2010-11. This is targeted at those students who do not receive textbook assistance through the Scholastic Opportunity Grant, but who have demonstrated financial need.
For more information on the BEACON program, persons may contact the EKU Office of Financial Affairs at 622-2361. Those wishing to apply must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority date for completing the FAFSA is March 15, 2007 and each subsequent year by March 15.