The George Washington Gale Scholars program was established in 1996 and named after the founder of Galesburg and Knox College. The program is a collaborative partnership between Knox College, Carl Sandburg College and Galesburg Public Schools District 205 and was created to encourage and support higher education aspirations and success in the target population of academically promising first-generation and income-eligible youth within District 205.
Each year up to 15 students are selected and participate in summer enrichment and academic preparation, community service and special skill-building experiences. Students who complete the program in high school receive tuition-waiver scholarships toward the completion of associate and bachelor's degree programs at Carl Sandburg College and Knox College, respectively. Highly academically successful students at Galesburg High School may qualify for direct enrollment to Knox College.
Eighth-grade students must meet the following criteria:
- Have a financial need based upon federal guidelines
- Be a first-generation college student (neither parent holds a baccalaureate degree)
- Demonstrate a commitment to school through a recommended 90 percent attendance rate
- Recommended cumulative GPA of 2.5
Qualifying students must complete the GWGS application and provide two written recommendations from supportive adults such as instructors, coaches, ministers and other community members with whom the student has a positive rapport. These applications are screened by a selection committee and finalists are interviewed.
GWGS take academic courses determined by college entrance requirements:
- A minimum grade point average of 2.5 is expected.
- Participation in at least two school activities per year is required.
- Summer programs and workshops are required for academic and leadership enrichment.