East Central College’s board of trustees Monday night voted in favor of a scholarship overhaul designed to make paying for tuition at the college easier for students of varying backgrounds.

The board approved the changes first presented in October at its monthly meeting.

“This will not only encourage the recruitment of full-time students, but we also hope it will increase participation in part-time students,” said Vice President of Student Services Shelli Allen.

Allen first presented the changes at last month’s board meeting after designing the overhaul with a task force made up of several members from throughout ECC’s faculty, administration and staff. The group reviewed current scholarships, researched best practices across the industry and determined how East Central College should allocate scholarships to students.

The now-approved changes will raise the full award limit, allow scholarships for the summer session, create retention and completion scholarship, make scholarships available for part-time students and work toward building an emergency fund.

Allen said ECC’s past scholarships only looked to bring in students and don’t do enough to ensure that students finish their degree. She said the changes proposed will ensure students have the means to finish their time at ECC.

“All of our scholarships are front-ended. They’re all about recruiting students,” she said. “We have very little money for keeping students in school and we don’t have money at the end of college.”

Allen said most of these improvements will make students’ financial life easier and more likely that a student will complete their degree. She also noted that the work on scholarships is ongoing, and that more changes are planned. One example is an an emergency fund for students.

Revisions to the Board of Trustees scholarship, a new Presidential scholarship offered to part-time students, a College Completion scholarship for students who are 12 credits or less away from completion and a one-time scholarship for students taking 30 credit hours a year are proposed.

Based on current semester data, 65 currently enrolled students would meet eligibility for the new scholarships, Allen said. The new additions, which she said could be implemented next academic year, would cost roughly $105,000 at a maximum.

The restructure also creates broader eligibility criteria for many of the scholarships offered at East Central, a move Allen said should make it easier for more students to come to ECC.

Other changes include scholarships for students enrolled at least half time, targeted recruitment scholarships for fine and performing arts and modified credit hour requirements for scholarship renewal

The board approved the scholarship changes unanimously.