High school seniors to access new learning opportunities as Knox Early College Program starts

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Students’ brains are hard at work preparing for second term finals at Knox College.

Economics major Elliot Bainbridge is one of the students when his head in the books, but he’s also experiencing college a long way from home in the United Kingdom.

Elliot Bainbridge said, “I’m on the Knox golf team, so that was one of the main reasons I came, but obviously, it helps having great academics.”

While the college’s student body spans the globe, one of their latest programs is looking to attract high schoolers next door.

Knox College Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission Paul Steenis said, “Sometimes they overlook the schools, the colleges, and universities in their own backyard and think that they’ve got to go miles away, sometimes many states away or even to another country to look for a quality education.”

An early start to college in high school without having to worry about some of the financial burdens is a plan coming to Galesburg.

That’s what Knox College will provide this fall with the introduction of the Early College Program

It offers high-achieving high school seniors in Knox and Warren Counties a chance to earn college credit with scholarships covering the cost of tuition.

Students can take one class in each of Knox College three terms.

“For high school students, there is a verity of ways to earn college credit, through taking advanced placement courses, maybe through taking a local community college class but there’s often times significant costs associated with those courses as well,” said Steenis.

To qualify for the program current high school juniors need to meet specific requirements including placing in the top 10 percent of their class or a GPA of at least 3.8.

Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission for Knox College Paul Steenis said they’ve already had about two dozen students in the application process. 

For Knox College, it’s a way to help current high-achieving juniors from maxing out what their the high school can provide in terms of subjects like math or science or to start something new.

Steenis said, “Subjects they don’t have the high school. Maybe astronomy, maybe they don’t offer Chinese or Japanese.”

The high school students are still responsible for covering the costs of books, materials, and independent lessons. 

But in addition to covering the cost of tuition in the program, it includes some help for students deciding to stay on campus after high school graduation.

Steenis said, “Earning themselves admission, we’ll guarantee them at least $30,000 per year in academic scholarships.”

But also, a sneak peek before leaving the nest.

Steenis said, “A really good taste of what a college environment like Knox can offer them.”

Local 4 News also spoke with the Galesburg School District.

The Director of Curriculum told Local 4 the most significant benefit is providing students more opportunities.

The District also said they’re looking at options to help student accepted into the program also cover the cost of book and transportation.

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