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Business scholarships aim to help Central Illinois students

In the darkness of today’s economy, the University’s College of Business is offering some hope to Professional Master in Business Administration (MBA) students.

The college is starting two new scholarships aimed at students residing in central Illinois – the “Fresh Start” and “Community Partners” scholarships. The financial programs will provide full tuition coverage for up to three students. The “Fresh Start” scholarship will aid two students while the “Community Partners” scholarship will aid one.

The College of Business is starting the programs to help students further their education.

“Being a business school, we know that there are employment difficulties in the economy,” Larry DeBrock, dean of the College of Business. “We are trying to do something to help people who have found themselves in employment difficulty.”

The “Fresh Start” scholarship is need-based and for people forced to explore new career paths because of the economy, said Stig Lanesskog, associate dean of the MBA program in a press release.

Lanesskog said the “Community Partners” scholarship is for business leaders in Champaign County who are not getting tuition assistance from their employers because of the economy.

DeBrock said the MBA program is “a nighttime program that meets in the evening twice a week for three hours.”

The program requires that students be able to commute from work to campus, making it ideal for students from the central Illinois area, DeBrock said.

“The community that we would draw from would be people that could drive here after work and take the class from 6 to 9,” he said.

To supplement the “Fresh Start” application, one must submit a statement of two pages or less outlining how one’s life has been affected by the economy and how an MBA would boost one’s career, according to the press release.

For the “Community Partners” scholarship, one must include a statement of one page or less explaining why one should receive the award, along with three reference letters, including one from a supervisor and one from an organization where the applicant volunteers.

The deadline for the scholarships is Nov. 1 and applications can be found on the Professional MBA Web site. All applicants also must take the GMAT to be eligible.

This scholarship provides an opportunity for graduate students as well as undergraduates who are thinking about entering the program in the future.

“I plan on getting work experience before getting an MBA,” said Philip Nguyen, senior in Business. The scholarship opportunity will be helpful for students when they are out in the real world, he said.

Other students who do not qualify for the scholarships should be aware of other opportunities to receive aid.

“There are scholarships available in many of our programs,” DeBrock said. “This is just a new one that we are introducing for the professional MBA, particularly aimed at people in central Illinois that are hit by the economic downturn.”

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