EUREKA, Ill. (WMBD) — Lincoln College officially closed its doors on May 13, leaving some students, like Kaylee Hohlbauch, stranded.
“We didn’t know exactly what to think,” Hohlbauch said, “but we knew we needed to start figuring out what to do because we didn’t have very much time left.”
Hohlbauch played softball for Lincoln College, so she watched her fellow athletes struggle to decide their next move.
“They were trying to decide, ‘well, is it worth it playing another year? Or do I just finish my school out and not play?’” she said.
Seeing an opportunity to help, Eureka College stepped in.
“It was immediately felt as an obligation and a responsibility, in fact, on our part, to offer a tuition match to all Lincoln College students,” said President Dr. Jamel Wright.
Wright said the announcement about Lincoln’s closure was heartbreaking to hear.
“I pray that every single Lincoln College student who did not graduate does not stop. That’s the main thing,” Wright said. “We want them to keep going. So even if it’s not Eureka College, I pray that they continue, and they go somewhere.”
In addition to the guaranteed tuition match, Lincoln College students could also utilize the “Uniquely Eureka Promise” program for extra financial and academic support.
“Lincoln College has a significant percentage of first-generation and low-income students,” Wright said. “So, we wanted to provide as smooth of a transition as we possibly could.”
After finding out Eureka would price-match, Hohlbauch said it made the decision to transfer a lot easier.
“I know coming here, there’s a big group of us coming, so I won’t 100% be starting over,” she said, “but you’re still going to have to make new friends.”
The Lincoln College Board of Trustees voted at the end of March to shut down the college after the spring semester ended. They cited financial hardship, mostly from the pandemic, as the reason for this decision.
Hohlbauch accepted the offer from Eureka College and will attend come this fall.
“I’m very excited. Eureka was one of my top choices when I was looking last year, so I kind of felt like now, it was meant for me to come here,” Hohlbauch said.
In addition to bringing in Lincoln College students, Eureka College also hired their wrestling coach. This is the first time wrestling will be offered at Eureka.