East Central College (ECC)

In November, East Central College’s Board of Trustees will vote on a possible overhaul of its scholarship policy that may make paying for classes easier for students.

Vice President of Student Development Shelli Allen Monday night presented the proposal she and other faculty and staff members developed to the board.

Through new scholarships and changes to current policies, the proposed 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 current scholarships only look to bring in students and don’t do enough to ensure that students finish their degree. She said the changes proposed would 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 said future work on projects like an emergency fund also will help.

“We want to find a way to (help) students who get a flat tire which might make or break their decision to enroll or not,” she said.

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 will 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.

Trustee Dr. Eric Park said this would be a strong step toward giving students a better chance to complete programs.

“This is inspiring work because one of our missions here is to get people into programs and then help them get through the programs,” Park said.

President Dr. Jon Bauer said ECC’s current scholarship policies are somewhat archaic and noted that, if the changes are approved, enrollment and the college’s student services would improve.

“Both in terms of meeting enrollment goals and objectives, remaining competitive and better serving our students,” Bauer said. “We have a lot of students who weren’t addressed by our current offerings.”

The board will vote on the scholarship changes at its next meeting Monday, Nov. 6, at the Union campus.