Non-traditional Students Earn Degrees While Working in the Bloomington-Normal Communities

NORMAL — The State Farm Companies Foundation will provide scholarship opportunities for low income students enrolled in the Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program at Lincoln College in Normal. The partnership is for two years during the 2016 and 2017 academic years.

During the two-year commitment, the State Farm Companies Foundation will fund approximately 10 scholarships a year to low-income students who have earned an associate’s degree and have been admitted to one of Lincoln College’s accelerated hybrid degree programs. Classes for these degree programs meet once a week supplemented by online learning. Each scholarship will cover full tuition-less Pell grant and the Monetary Award Program grant for a twelve-month period.

The ABE Program began in 2007 and offers a unique hybrid learning environment for working adults in Bloomington-Normal.

Jay Stevens, a 2013 graduate of the ABE program who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management, said the program had a huge impact on his professional and personal life.

“The program offered the support and foundation for me to be able to continue my education and thrive, as well as maintain a stable home and work life.” Stevens said,  “I gained life lessons that I have taken into my current position and used the knowledge I’ve gained from Lincoln College to launch a new training program, and Lincoln College is directly responsible for my success with this project and my new position.”

David Gerlach, who started as Lincoln College president this summer, said this is a very exciting time for the college.

“The relationship between State Farm Companies Foundation and Lincoln College allows us to further promote a quality education within the Bloomington-Normal community and educate the area workforce more rapidly with the accelerated ABE program,” Gerlach said. “The generosity of State Farm Companies Foundation will make it possible for non-traditional students to continue their education and finish their bachelor’s degree.”

Through the ABE program, students can earn bachelor degrees in the following areas: Criminal Justice, Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain and Logistics Management, Health Services Administration, Sports Management, Organizational Leadership, and Liberal Arts.

To find out more information about the ABE program visit