Innovative program helps students earn degrees

For more than 2 years UNT's Emerald Eagle Scholars program has helped make sure financial restrictions don't prevent academically talented Texas high school graduates from attending college.

But the EES program does more than provide financial aid – it helps students succeed in college because it's founded on 3 conceptual pillars:

These pillars support the idea that not only do students need financial support to succeed in college, but they also need academic guidance and involvement with their university community.

Meet some current Emerald Eagle Scholars

Wondering what it might be like to be an Emerald Eagle Scholar? Listen to a few current scholars tell their stories.

Cirzy Gonzales, from Perryton, is a first-generation college student and the only child of a single mom. Though college has always been her goal, it would have been a struggle for her to reach it, if not for the Emerald Eagle Scholars program.

"To be an Emerald Eagle Scholar means a lot to me," Gonzalez says. "When I first received the letter in the mail and saw that, financially, I was going to get that help, it was just a burden off my shoulders. I was just relieved…it felt really good."

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Sarah Cheek
, from Rockwall, wants to be a teacher some day and was prepared to do whatever it took to get a college degree, even if that meant making huge sacrifices along the way. Thanks to the Emerald Eagle Scholars program, she can focus more attention on academics.

"If I didn't have Emerald Eagles, I would be working full time," she said. "I probably wouldn't be a full-time student. More than likely I wouldn't be at UNT…I would  be at a community college, working full time, going to class whenever it was possible for me to go, probably taking two or three classes; that would be about it."

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Darryl Robinson, from Killeen, said having mentors was one of the keys that has helped him transition into life as a successful college student.

"You get assigned peer and faculty mentors. My [student] mentor's name is Bill, and he's fabulous. There were times when I was really down, and really frustrated and he'd say 'Just keep your head up. I know how it is. Stay strong. Come by my room and I'll help you with homework. What do you need?' It helped me a lot."

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Could you be an Emerald Eagle Scholar?

If you think you would qualify to be an Emerald Eagle Scholar, you must complete and submit UNT admissions documents and free application for federal student aid forms (FAFSA) before March 15. There is no additional application for the Emerald Eagle Scholars Program.

Be prepared to wait a little while to hear from us – it usually takes about 6 weeks for the Federal Processor to process your FAFSA application. Students who meet program requirements and deadlines will be notified between May 1 and June 31, depending on when you completed the FAFSA forms.

Once your qualification is confirmed, you'll get a selection notification packet from UNT inviting you to become an Emerald Eagle Scholar. The packet includes a contract between you and UNT that you need to sign and send back telling us you'll be enrolling this fall and committing to the program.

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Want to help the Emerald Eagle Scholars Program?

The Emerald Eagle Scholars program is supported in part by the Emerald Eagle scholarship endowment fund. For 3 years UNT has hosted an annual gala event to support the program. On Feb. 28, more than $400,000 was committed to the program at the Emerald Ball held at the Fort Worth Zoo.

If you didn't make it to the ball it's not too late to help these talented scholars.

Learn more about the Emerald Eagle Scholars Program