While four College of Lake County athletic teams -- men's and women's cross country, women's tennis and men's golf -- have won Skyway Conference championships this fall, the news is also good in the classroom.
During 2016-17, 90 student athletes -- nearly three times more than in 2014 -- pursued their dream of a college education, thanks to a new scholarship program that began in 2015.
In 2015, the college moved to increase support for student athletes, promote degree completion and improve recruiting results, doubling the number of annual athletic scholarships from 31 to 66 full-time students in the form of tuition and fee waivers.
Each waiver normally covers 15 credits per each semester for up to four semesters, but coaches are allowed to split a full-time waiver to benefit additional students, resulting in last year's total of 90.
Qualifying athletes must be enrolled full time (12 credits or more), sign an academic contract and promise to attend Study Zone sessions for at least three hours per week.
Student athletes also must maintain academic progress, which includes maintaining a 2.0 GPA or higher each semester. Students also must actively participate in tutoring, academic planning progress monitoring and academic coaching.
In addition, the Office for Students with Disabilities and TRiO offer academic support for first-generation college students.
"The increase in athletic scholarships supports the college's emphasis on student success and the completion of degree after, ideally, two years of study," CLC Athletic Director Nic Scandrett said.
Melinda Blomberg, a secondary education major, volleyball player and 2016 graduate of Round Lake High School, said the scholarship has helped push her to be successful in the classroom and on the court.
"The academic requirements, such as logging study hours, gives me structured time to finish my homework," she said. "Financially, receiving the scholarship has taken a big weight off my shoulders. I'm spending less time on my part-time job and more time on rewarding activities such as coaching a high-school-age volleyball team. The experience has taught me patience and greater respect for coaches."
Gavin Amburn, a soccer player and computer science major who attended Grayslake North High School and earned a GED at CLC, added that the positive recognition from scholarship motivated him to do well academically.
"In awarding the scholarship, the college sees me as a hard worker," he said. "As a student, I've made it a point to hold up my end of the agreement by logging in study time and getting good grades."
For details on the tuition waivers and to apply, contact Scandrett at (847) 543-2477. To learn more about CLC athletics, visit www.clclancers.com.
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