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Mariah Flynn ’18, a Human Development and Social Relations major from Kodak, Tenn., says the completion grant allows her to focus on her studies.

EC awarding more support to keep students with financial need on track for graduation

April 16, 2018

A major new college completion initiative at Earlham College this year is keeping students in the classroom who otherwise may be at risk of dropping out for financial reasons.

More than 60 students in strong academic standing have been approved for grants averaging $2,200 as part of the roll out of the three-year program.

“We believe in making the highest quality liberal arts education as affordable as possible, but we recognize that circumstances can change for students and their families that leave a financial burden they simply cannot meet,” President Alan Price says. “Now we can better support these deserving students as they work toward earning their degree.”

Earlham is recognized as a national leader for value in higher education every year by publishers of the most reputable college guides in the country, including Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Fiske, and the Princeton Review. The College’s distinctive approach to the liberal arts makes purposeful connections between classroom learning and experiential opportunities that position students to navigate careers from a multidisciplinary approach and develop skills most needed to excel in an increasingly globalized world. The addition of The EPIC Advantage — the offer of a funded internship, community project or research experience for all students — is an opportunity that is virtually unparalleled in American higher education.

“We noticed that among the small group of students withdrawing from the College, finances are often an underlying reason, a stress point,” says Bonita Washington-Lacey, senior associate vice president of academic affairs and director of accreditation activities. “In most cases, the financial gap is relatively small. This new initiative makes it possible to address this need before it becomes a barrier to their success.”

Nearly 30 percent of all students enrolled at Earlham are eligible for Pell Grants from the federal government and 90 percent of Earlham students receive some form of financial assistance from the College. This year’s grant recipients represent students enrolled at all levels of earning a degree.

“Even with financial aid, working jobs on and off campus, and receiving help from my parents, there were times I didn’t know if I’d be able to afford college and make it all the way through,” says Mariah Flynn ’18, a Human Development and Social Relations major from Kodak, Tenn.

“I’ve been behind on tuition payments every year, but this grant came at a time during my senior year when a lot of other things were going on in my life and the financial support took away a lot of the pressure I was feeling,” she says. “Now I can just focus on my studies in my final semester.”

Deshar -wilson -thomasDe’Shar Wilson-Thomas ’18 (right), an Education major with a focus on Mathematics from Goldsboro, N.C., was also a grant recipient.

“As I started taking upper level mathematics courses I was starting to have doubts about my course of study and I didn’t want to waste money taking classes I wouldn’t be successful with,” Wilson-Thomas says. “This grant gave me the financial security I was looking for as I met with my academic advisers, my coaches and the financial aid office to refocus my major to better support my aspirations in becoming a teacher.

“All four years of my Earlham experience have been a blessing,” he says. “I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done for me.”

In addition to this new financial support initiative, Earlham also offers academic support for students that provides a clear path toward graduation. That includes centers devoted to writing and quantitative reasoning and an Academic Enrichment Center that provides tutoring and study strategies.

First-generation students, which represent about 20 percent of each incoming class, also can enroll in the Library Immersion Fellows Team (LIFT) program. Eligible students are matched with research librarians for a special seven-week course to build skills in scholarly research and public presentation that are essential to all students, regardless of major. LIFT students are also provided with an electronic device and are eligible to participate in all-expenses-paid study trips led by Earlham faculty. This year’s destination is Hawai’i.

Similarly, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is designed to prepare students who have traditionally been underrepresented in graduate studies for the journey leading to the Ph.D. Since the program was established on campus in 2009, graduates have gone on to earn doctorates in Law, English and Pharmacology.

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and


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