Help is available for college-bound students

A couple weeks ago, I was visiting with my niece, a high school senior, who was in the process of completing college applications. We were talking about which colleges and community colleges she would have an interest in attending and what areas she is thinking about studying. That naturally leads to a big question – how is she going to pay for it all and what help might be available?

Fortunately, if the situation sounds familiar and you are reading this month’s magazine, your high school senior is most likely eligible to apply for one of the 12 $2,000 scholarships awarded through the Thomas H. Moore Illinois Electric Cooperative (IEC) Memorial Scholarship Program.

This program, which began in 1996 awarding two $1,000 scholarships, has now grown into awarding 12 $2,000 scholarships to deserving high school seniors who are advancing their education at a four-year university or an Illinois community college.

  • Six scholarships are awarded to students who are sons or daughters of an Illinois electric cooperative member receiving service from a cooperative.
  • Four scholarships are reserved for students enrolling full-time at a two-year Illinois community college who are the sons or daughter of Illinois electric cooperative members, employees or directors.
  • One scholarship, the “Earl W. Struck Memorial Scholarship,” is awarded to a student who is the son or daughter of an Illinois electric cooperative employee or director.

High school seniors can apply for these scholarships through their cooperative’s website. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2020.

The 12th scholarship, the “LaVern and Nola McEntire Lineworker’s Scholarship,” is awarded to a student to assist with costs to attend the lineworker’s school conducted by the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) in conjunction with Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield. This scholarship was endowed by LaVern and Nola McEntire. LaVern served as a lineman for McDonough Power Cooperative from 1949 to 1991. Eligible students can apply through the AIEC’s website and applications are due April 30, 2021.

The Thomas H. Moore IEC Memorial Scholarship Program is a great example of the electric cooperatives of Illinois displaying one of the seven cooperative principles, Concern for Community. Growing from an idea in the mid-1990s, to recently completing its 25th year of awarding scholarships, the program has been incredibly successful in assisting deserving high school students. Since its inception, 156 scholarships totaling almost $235,000 have been awarded. However, none of this would have been possible without the strong support and generosity from every electric cooperative in Illinois, their directors, staff and member-owners.

While visiting with my niece, it reminded me just how exciting it is to be a high school senior, as well as the big education decisions that await. Fortunately, scholarships like these can help assist with those educational pursuits. If you are the parent of a high school senior, encourage them to visit your electric cooperative’s website by Dec. 31, 2020 and apply for this great scholarship opportunity!