Photo credit: Amelia Wilson


In recent years there has been increased awareness around first generation students, and now campuses are creating programs to support and guide students.

In an effort to give back and increase the enrollment of first generation students, Eastern has announced the establishment of the Trailblazers Scholarship to assist first generation students. This scholarship will help fulfill unmet needs of first generation students and their families when attempting to find affordable, quality college options.

“[Eastern is] always looking to help under-represented students, but everyone is becoming more aware of the gap that is growing between affordability and the ability of first generation families to pay for college,” said Brett Morris, director of admissions.

Records show Eastern has between 800 to 1,000 first generation freshmen each fall, Morris said. Although some students receive merit awards and other aid, the Trailblazer Scholarship is estimated to assist between 100-125 new incoming fall of 2016 freshmen who might not be getting other aid to help them come to college, depending on the number of applications.

The initiative for the scholarship came from the President’s council, with its expectation for the scholarship consisting of no previous work, age, or GPA requirement for retaining the scholarship, as it is a one-time award for incoming freshmen. However, there is a possibility for it to become renewable if additional funding comes along. Morris said the expected awards are to be in the $2,000 range depending upon other aid amounts a student may be getting.

First generation students can apply until March 1, 2016 to be considered. A written essay and a letter of recommendation should accompany the application from a school official. Students must also have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for the award.