Southern Illinois area students now have another way to pay for books and school supplies.
710 Bookstore and Old National Bank have partnered to offer the Saluki Community Scholarship, which will award $500 for up to four semesters excluding summer to two southern Illinois-area incoming students, according to the scholarship’s information pamphlet. High school seniors and transfer students who have already obtained 56 credit hours before attending the university are eligible for the scholarship.
The award covers only 710 Bookstore books and supplies.
Randy Johnson, the bookstore’s general manager, said this is not the first time the bookstore has offered students a scholarship opportunity.
710 and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor the Saluki Stay Scholarship, he said. The scholarship is available to university juniors or seniors who maintain a 2.8 or higher grade point average and are employed by a Carbondale Chamber of Commerce member business, according to the chamber’s website. The scholarship provides money for books, food, housing and other benefits.
Johnson said enrollment issues and area students’ inability to afford university costs sparked the idea for the scholarship. He said offering the scholarship helps the community do its part in helping the university.
“The two things you always hear about (are) retention and recruitment (when it comes to SIU enrollment),” he said. “This one is more aimed at recruitment and specifically for regional students to offer a little more incentive (to attend the university).”
Johnson said the scholarship was offered last year to the Mount Carmel area as a test run and has since expanded to multiple southern Illinois locations. He said he thinks the program will continue to grow and become available to more area students in the future.
Steven Walkup, assistant manager at Carbondale’s Old National Bank, said the partnership stemmed from a strong business relationship.
He said he hopes the scholarship will help retain local students.
“The idea was to generate local interest to attend SIU (and) to find scholars that already exist here in our region and get them to come to SIU versus going out of state or out of the region for education,” Walkup said.
Abbey Fischer, financial aid office scholarship coordinator, said community scholarships are fairly common and new ones are offered almost every other year. The community always looks for ways to help out local students, she said.
“We all support one another,” she said. “The community (is) very involved with SIU, the students and supporting the students because our students end up supporting them as well by giving them business.”
Scholarship applications will be accepted until March 15 and are available at 710 Bookstore or an Old National Bank in Carbondale, De Soto, Murphysboro, Mount Vernon, Harrisburg, Mount Carmel, Carmi, Carterville or Marion.