Antioch College will offer its last full-ride scholarships to students in the incoming class of 2014 — the fourth and final class that will get a free education as they help rebuild the liberal arts school.
Every student earns full tuition for their four years on campus through the Horace Mann Fellowship, a reward for helping to guide the college as it works to regain accreditation after closing in 2008 amid financial turmoil.
The award is worth $26,500 annually and has attracted attention from media around the country.
“We’re asking a lot of the student choosing to come to Antioch. They’re helping to re-build an institution,” said Shane Creepingbear, multicultural recruitment and enrollment coordinator. “There’s a high level of accountability that comes with this scholarship.”
Antioch plans to accept 75 to 85 new students for 2014, and has already received 450 applications for those spots.
That means admission to Antioch is competitive, but not in the traditional sense, Creepingbear said. The college does not look strictly at GPA or test scores.
“We’re looking for those right-fit students,” he said.
Antioch also asks what attracted students to apply — whether it is the community aspect at the heart of everything Antioch does or the co-op each student completes or another factor.
Creepingbear said the chance to graduate from college relatively debt-free is not common in higher education. Students at Antioch do pay for their living expenses.
“It opens opportunities for students from all different backgrounds,” he said.
Cleo van der Veen, a sophomore, said earning a spot at Antioch meant she could go to college.
“Without Antioch that wouldn’t have happened,” the Phoenix native said. “I realized: I was getting into colleges and there was going to be no way I could attend because there was no way I could afford them.”
The 160-year-old college plans to continue its “stable growth” and expand to 250 students by 2016.
“I think that it’s a commitment to come here and build a college,” van der Veen said. “I don’t think anybody’s here who doesn’t love doing it. It’s a really great experience and everybody is really invested in building something old and something new at the same time.”
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