More "high ability students" are choosing to go to Western Illinois University. These students are turning good grades and high test scores into huge savings on a college education.
Shealyn Ashby says getting good grades in high school is paying off now that she's in college, thanks to her Centennial Honors scholarship.
"The scholarship gave me the opportunity to go to school almost completely loan free."
Western Illinois University Admissions Director Andy Borst says they're seeing a significant jump in "high ability students" - those who scored in the 90th percentile on their ACT and have a 3.5 GPA or higher.
Last fall, WIU accepted 17 of these students, and they have already accepted 90 for the next school year. He says the amount of scholarship students can receive depends highly on their ACT test scores.
"It's structured so it tiers up. It starts with a 22, and at 25 the scholarship doubles, with a 29 it's a 12,000 scholarship, and it's up to a 32 which is the Centennial scholarship," he said.
He says the cost is a huge incentive.
"With Western being a leader in cost-affordability, locking in tuition fees, room and board, many of the schools, especially private schools have a similar model, but they don't share their scholarship grid as much as we do," he said.
Shealyn says she really feels the campus is prioritizing academics.
"They're really pushing grades and making people want to come here."
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