By Denise Dick
New graduates of Mahoning Valley high schools have the opportunity for two years of free tuition at Eastern Gateway Community College.
To qualify for the Gateway Grant, students must begin attending Eastern Gateway full time by the fall after graduating from a high school in Mahoning, Trumbull or Colum- biana county, apply for the Pell Grant and use any awarded funds before the Gateway Grant is applied.
Students must have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average upon high-school graduation, said Ann Koon, Eastern Gateway spokeswoman.
The grant is good for four semesters of full-time attendance over two years. It funds only tuition. The student is responsible for fees, books and supplies.
Koon said there is no limit to the number of grants available, although the college is “urging students to apply to the college and start financial aid process immediately.” Classes start Aug. 26.
Last year, 23 students received a combined $55,000-plus, she said.
“The grant is supported by college operating funds,” Koon said. “As a state-funded community college, Eastern Gateway uses the grant program to help support the community by giving back to residents and reaching additional youth with important higher education.”
Eastern Gateway also hopes the grant encourages families to make the community college part of their child’s plans to secure a bachelor’s degree, she said.
“Students can stretch their education dollars by taking the first two years of credits at the lower tuition rate of a community college,” Koon said. “Eastern Gateway participates in the state transfer-assurance guide where credits are guaranteed to transfer to Ohio state universities. With this program, a student’s core courses like English, history, psychology, etc., will transfer along with dozens of other courses.”
The grant is not competitive and is awarded to all qualified students. It does not have to be repaid.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, nearly 50 percent of all college-bound students begin their higher education at a community college.
To apply, call 330-480-0726, ext. 3101.