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COUNTRY Financial partners with Heartland on college access for High School students

January 22, 2021

COUNTRY Financial is helping to provide Bloomington-Normal area high school students with an early start on a college career. 

In partnership with the Heartland Community College (HCC) Foundation, COUNTRY Financial has developed a scholarship program for students who wish to pursue early college credit in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Business (STEMB) and agriculture-related fields. The program has a focus on those who traditionally haven’t been able to access early college credit due to financial constraints. 

“We work in an incredible industry which allows us to positively impact lives every day,” said CEO Jim Jacobs. “Through these scholarships, we have the opportunity to enrich more lives by opening the door to future academic and career achievements for currently underserved populations.” 

The COUNTRY Financial Scholars Program covers tuition, fees and books for enrollment in Heartland courses while in high school (dual enrollment/dual credit) for up to 18 credit hours each academic year. The program also includes career mentorship opportunities. The scholarships will be directed toward students interested in a career in a STEMB or agriculture-related fields. Additionally, program applicants must demonstrate financial need and meet at least one of the following criteria: first-generation college student (neither parent completed a 4-year degree), racial/ethnic minority, and underrepresented female in STEM, business or agriculture. 

Up to twelve high school juniors and seniors from Unit 5, BHS or University High will be selected for the program. Scholarship recipients will receive continued funding for their junior and senior years, provided they maintain at least a 2.5 GPA in college courses. 

“Heartland’s CollegeNOW and DegreeNOW programs have provided early college access to thousands of area high school students,” said HCC Foundation Executive Director Chris Downing. “The support of COUNTRY Financial for this program opens a door for a number of students who are underrepresented in not only STEMB-related fields, but amongst the entire early college access population. There is a growing need within the STEMB workforce in our community. These scholarships will help motivated students who want to enter STEMB-related fields reach their educational goals.” 

Visit to learn more about the COUNTRY Financial Scholars Program and Heartland’s CollegeNOW program.

Written by: Steve Fast