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Scholarships and Awards in English

The Department of English awards over a dozen scholarships and other awards and also nominates students for those university-wide scholarships and awards that require departmental nominations.

With the exception of the Genelle Voigt Jackson Scholarship (available to incoming freshmen), these scholarships and awards are for currently enrolled EIU students.

Department Chair Dana Ringuette presented more than $46,000 in awards and prizes during the most recent Scholarship and Awards Tea held on April 9, 2014. Read about some of the recipients here.

Click here to complete the student information form, which is required for consideration for English Department Scholarships.  

The deadline to submit a student information form is January 2015.

For more information about applying for scholarships and awards in 2015-16, contact Dr. Steven Swords.

You can also search a database of additional scholarships available to English majors through the EIU Scholarship Search.

University Awards with Departmental Nominations

  •    Attainment Fund Scholarship —At least sophomore standing and at least one more year of study to complete BA. 
    • Criteria: primarily grade average (minimum of 3.0 GPA), financial need, employment record, extracurricular activities
    • Amount: Ranges from $300-$600 (determined by Financial Aid), payable in the spring, one winner per year
  •   Livingston Lord Scholarship — Junior standing.
    • Criteria:Character, scholarship, "potential for outstanding success in his[/her] academic area."
    • Amount: Determined by Alumni Services; payable in the fall
  • Continuing Presidential Scholars in English — awarded to incoming Freshman.
    • Criteria: Application and interview process, minimum requirements are a 28 ACT and 3.75 or a 30 ACT and a 3.5 GPA.  The award is for 4 years, provided students maintain a 3.4 GPA and remain in good standing in the Honors College. 
    • Amount: Full tuition and fees (up to 15 hours) for 8 semesters
  • Martin Luther King Scholarship —Junior or senior in good standing
    • Criteria: "in thought and deed, living examples of the ideals and values expressed by Martin Luther King, Jr."
    • Amount: Approximately $400 (determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs), payable in the fall
  • Hobart F. Heller Award —Junior standing with majority of university attendance at EIU
    • Criteria: scholarship, character, sense of purpose, service to the university community.
    • Amount: Plaque plus approximately $2,500 (determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs), payable upon student's first enrollment or re-enrollment
  • Distinguished Senior Award —must be graduating in the spring, summer or fall of the current year
    • Criteria: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, this award recognizes those who have demonstrated outstanding character and leadership through academic achievement, campus and community involvement, and/or extracurricular honors or awards.
    • Amount: Plaque (no monetary award)
  • Eunice W. Dougherty Scholarships —Juniors majoring in one of 20 disciplines, including English
    • Criteria: Cumulative GPA of 3.85 or higher (based on all undergraduate coursework). Student must have 60-89 hours, with at least 15 graded semester hours having been earned at EIU.
    • Amount: Usually $1,000 each (determined by the College of Science), payable in the fall
  • University Honors —English majors who have been awarded Continuing Student Scholarships by the Honors College

Departmental Honors

  •    Warner Presidential Award in English —Junior or senior English majors.
    • Criteria: Outstanding scholarship and character, need (only after the number of nominees has been reduced to three).
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: Varies; $5300 in 2014 (may be divided among three or more recipients)
  •    Howard DeForest Widger Scholarship —Enrollment in a teaching curriculum as an English major.
    • Criteria: Character, scholarship in English, and skill in teaching with promise of service of distinction.
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $500
  •    Isabel McKinney Scholarship —Two types of awards:
    • One awarded to two continuing freshman majors.
    • One awarded to one or more graduating seniors eligible to enroll in the English graduate program in the fall.
    • Criteria: High scholastic standing, need, for graduate students the committee's "evaluation of written material authored by the nominee or applicant."
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: Two @ $500 for 3 years/Freshmen; One @ $1200 for a senior (may be divided).
  • Raymond L. and Carolyn Miller Fischer Scholarship —Sophomore standing.
    • Criteria: Scholarship, specialization in English literature. Alternates years with Speech Communications with English giving out the award in odd-numbered years.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: Varies
  • English Alumni Scholarship —Full-time sophomore or junior English major, 35-80 hours of EIU work by the end of the semester in which the award is made, overall GPA of at least 3.2.
    • Criteria: Strong character and potential for leadership, need for financial assistance.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: $1000
  • Betty J. Hawkins English Scholarship —Full-time sophomore or junior English major, 35-80 hours of EIU work by the end of the semester in which the award is made, overall GPA of at least 3.2.
    • Criteria: Strong character and potential for leadership, demonstrated strong writing skills (though not to be based on a writing competition), need for financial assistance.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: Two at $500 each
  • Dr. Charles I. Switzer Memorial Scholarship —Full-time junior or senior English major, overall GPA of at least 3.2.
    • Criteria: Preference to students who intend to pursue graduate work in English and who plan to become certified to teachers, special consideration will be given to service and professional involvement, academic achievement, scholarship and leadership, selection committee shall require an essay of the applicants.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: $250
  • Dr. Robert V. Wharton Scholarship —Full-time sophomore or junior English major, 30-95 hours of EIU work by the end of the semester in which the award is made, overall GPA of at least 3.25.
    • Criteria: Demonstrated financial need, non-traditional student, preference to single parents, preference to students with a keen appreciation of and facility for the study of literature.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: $500
  • Frances W. McColl Scholarship —Full-time junior English major in Teacher Education (alternate years with Journalism; English in odd-numbered years), must enter the senior year as a full-time student in the designated academic area.
    • Criteria: Outstanding scholarship and leadership.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: Varies
  • Genelle Voigt Jackson English Scholarship —Undergraduate full-time student, majoring, or intending to major in a degree program in the Department of English, and accepted to, and agreeing to attend, EIU.
    • Criteria: Financial need; student from West Salem, Ill., or neighboring communities; overall GPA of at least 3.0 from his/her high school.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: $2500 (1/2 to be awarded in the fall and 1/2 in the spring)
  • Mary Coon Cottingham Scholarship — Undergraduate full-time student from the College of Arts and Humanities (any department) with an overall GPA of at least 2.0.
    • Criteria: Financial need; strong interest and talent in English Literature and Creative Writing.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring; payable in the fall
    • Amount: Two @ $7,000 each in 2014; the actual amount may vary.
  • Lucina Paquet Gabbard English Scholarship
    • Criteria: Full-time English major with an overall GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Date: Awarded in the spring, payable in the fall
    • Amount: $250
  • Flora Saxby Hawkes Memorial Scholarship in English
    • Criteria: English major with an overall GPA greater than 3.0, accepted to EIU, junior or senior status, good academic standing. Student must have exhibited excellence in the classroom; financial need may be used as a determining factor in the case of two equally qualified students.
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring.
    • Amount: $1000
  • Distinguished Graduate Student in English Award
    • Criteria: Outstanding scholarship and leadership
    • Date: Spring Semester
    • Amount: Certificate only
  • Outstanding M.A. Thesis Award
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $100

Essay Contests

  • Louise Murray Award for Children's Literature —students with declared majors in English, Education, and/or any English minor.
    • Criteria: Best example of original writing for children or young adults in genre such as poetry, picture book, short fiction or novel) chapters from a longer work will be accepted) OR the best critical writing about children's or young adult literature. (Chosen by a subcommittee of faculty in the English department with expertise in youth literature or creative writing).
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $300 divided among winners (usually two)
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA
  • Literary Essay Contest — Undergraduate and graduate students in English.
    • Criteria: Minimum length, 1200 words; one entry per student; awards in graduate and undergraduate categories. (may be chosen by a subcommittee of readers including a representative of the Scholarship and Awards Committee)
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $400, to be divided as the subcommittee recommends.
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA. Essays will be accepted online.
  • Winnie Davis Neely
    • Criteria: Determined by The Vehicle staff and Sigma Tau Delta.
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $200
  • First-Year Essay Contest —  Administered by the English Club.
    • Criteria: Open to ALL freshman.
    • Date: Spring Semester
    • Amount: As determined by the English Club
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA. View past submission guidelines here.
  • James K. Johnson Creative Writing Award
    • Criteria: Essay contest.
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring.
    • Amount: Two per semester at $75 each.
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA. View past submission guidelines here.
  • Graham R. Lewis Memorial Poetry Award
    • Criteria: Recipient must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student, accepted to EIU and be in good academic standing.
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: 1st place - $3360.00, 2nd place - $1,680.00, 3rd place - $840.00, 4th place - $420.00, 5th place - $210.00, 6th place - $105.00, 7th place - $52.50, 8th place, $26.25, 9th place - $13.13.
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA. View past submission guidelines here.
  • Cultural Diversity Essay Contest
    • Criteria: Essay Contest
    • Date: Awarded and payable in the spring
    • Amount: $135
    • Deadline for Entry: TBA. Essays will be accepted online.

*Award amounts listed are for the 2014-2015 academic year.