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Elon Academy Eta Scholars cross $2 million mark in merit-based aid

Twenty high school seniors who are members of the Elon Academy’s sixth class have exceeded the $2 million mark in merit-based aid for enrolling in college next fall. 

The Eta Class scholars, representing all six Alamance-Burlington School System public high schools and River Mill Academy, have been a part of the Elon Academy since they were high school sophomores. 

With financial aid packages continuing to come in, the cohort has made Elon Academy history with its record amount in merit-based scholarship awards. Its nearly $2.3 million to date comes from 28 different sources recognizing academic achievement. 

n addition, Eta Scholars have been accepted to 47 different institutions. Nationwide, students have until May 1 to decide which institution they will attend. Financial aid is a major factor in that decision for Elon Academy scholars and many scholars are well on their way to receiving enough aid to cover the overwhelming majority of costs associated with college. 

The financial aid season is not over and the Elon Academy staff said they expect more acceptances and more scholarships. 

Elon Academy scholars are encouraged to apply for scholarships throughout their high school years, but the reality of the need for aid seems strongest during their senior year.  Elon Academy staff and College Access Team Mentors encourage scholars to be proactive.

“The support system has been really helpful,” said Jessica Judy, a scholar from River Mill Academy. “Summer programs have helped us learn more about college and scholarships and Saturday programs give us the time and opportunity to be able to complete scholarship applications. The staff and CAT Mentors motivate us to do them and help us remember that all of the hard work will be worth it in the end.”

Scholars are beginning to see the fruits of their labor, which is an example to younger cohorts in the program. 

“Money I’ve been awarded has really opened the gates to an education that’s so instrumental to my future.  Without the money my dreams wouldn’t have become a reality,” said Kile Hodgin, a scholar from Eastern Alamance High School and Watson & Odyssey Scholarship recipient at Elon University. “The Elon Academy taught me how to search for scholarships and to make myself stand out from other applicants. 

"I’m 100 percent certain I wouldn’t be where I am without Elon Academy.”

Launched by Elon University in 2007, the Elon Academy is a college access and success program for academically-promising high school students with a financial need and/or no family history of college. It combines a month-long residential program over three successive summers with follow-up experiences during the academic years.

Elon Academy staff work closely with advocates from all six public high schools, the River Mill Public Charter School, and Alamance-Burlington School System staff to identify, select, and support bright, highly motivated, local students who dream of a college education.

Support for students continues through their college graduation. To learn more about the Elon Academy, visit www.elon.edu/elonacademy.

Eric Townsend,
4/3/2015 12:45 PM