New scholarship opportunities for EKU students

EKU students talk outside of the Crabbe Library during a past semester. (Taken before the COVID-19 pandemic) 

Eastern Kentucky University is rolling out an all-new scholarship program for students who are admitted to the university by Feb. 1. Once accepted as a student, merit scholarships are automatically applied based on eligibility. 

“Living through a pandemic has created some challenges or barriers to attend such as having access to take the ACT or SAT test. Since this is a major hurdle to attending college, we have waived the test scores not only for admissions but for [most] merit scholarships, as well,” said Amanda McCracken, scholarship coordinator.

The new program features updated merit scholarships that are divided into four different tiers based on merit. 

For the lowest tier, Merit Tier 4, incoming freshmen must have a high school GPA of 3.0-3.29. In this tier, students will receive a semester award of $1,500, or $3,000 annually. To qualify for Merit Tier 3, students must have a 3.30-3.79 GPA. The reward for this tier is $2,000 a semester, or $4,000 annually. The next second- highest tier, Merit Tier 2, requires a 3.80-4.0 GPA. Students who qualify for this tier are awarded $3,000 a semester, or $6,000 annually. 

The highest tier, Merit Tier 1, requires a GPA of 3.80-4.0 and an ACT score of 28 or higher. If a student qualifies for this tier and lives in-state, their entire tuition will be paid for. This does not include fees or room and board.

The EKU renewal GPA for Merit Tier 1 is a 3.0, while the renewal GPA for the other three tiers is 2.5. 

When calculating which tier a student qualifies for, they will be evaluated by an unweighted GPA. Students must be enrolled full-time for renewals. Merit scholarships are awarded for four years if all requirements are maintained.     

There are other new scholarship opportunities that are being introduced in addition to the new merit scholarships. The “Madison County Promise” is a way to give back to the community by offering more affordable tuition to local residents. With this scholarship, any Madison County resident with a 2.5-2.9 high school GPA will qualify for a $1,000 scholarship.

“We take pride (in) being the school of opportunity to assist our Kentucky residents to make higher education more affordable for this upcoming year,” McCracken said. “We took the challenges that families and students are facing during the pandemic with test access and economic stress to make the dream of higher education a reality.”

EKU is also introducing the “Colonel Commitment Scholarship.” Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant are also eligible for this scholarship. Students are required to have a 3.0 GPA. This scholarship serves as “gap funding” for those who still have a remaining tuition balance after federal, state, and grant assistance. If awarded the “Colonel Commitment Scholarship,” any remaining balance for tuition and fees will be paid for. 

“The introduction of the Colonel Commitment, Madison County Promise, and restructured merit model will directly impact the accessibility of the transformative Eastern Experience for Kentucky students,” EKU President David McFaddin said in a statement. “These changes will ensure that more students receive aid and that the University is bridging the gap for our students with the most financial need.”

Additionally, EKU is awarding the “Access Scholarship.” In a commitment to be an inclusive environment, EKU will be awarding $1,000 to in-state students who identify as diverse. To qualify, students must have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher and a composite score of 16 or higher on the ACT. Students can also qualify with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher, regardless of their ACT score. 

For more information on scholarship opportunities, visit

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