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Students nearing graduation salute EAL for help in making it to finish line

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Josh Moller and Abril de la Pa
Josh Moller and Abril de la Paz

Every little bit of help counts when it comes to paying for a college education as Roosevelt University students Josh Moller and Abril de la Paz attested to recently while marking a milestone with Wheaton, Ill.-based EALgreen.

An innovator in saving resources and providing opportunities for college students, the nonprofit EALgreen marked its success on Oct. 28 at Roosevelt University in granting more than $18 million in scholarships over its nearly 35 years in operation to approximately 15,000 college students from across the nation.

Two of those students, Moller and de la Paz, both Roosevelt University seniors, were on hand to tell their own stories that affirm one of the suburban green nonprofit’s goal of making a college education possible for growing numbers of students in need.

“Many times I wanted to give up,” said de la Paz, a biochemistry major from Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood.  She has a brother and sister who dropped out of college because they didn’t have the resources to pay tuition.

“I’ve been blessed with money,” said de la Paz, who receives a number of scholarships to attend Roosevelt, including $500 annually from EALgreen.  “I won’t give up.  I want to be able to finish college and go out in the world and do something to help someone else the way that EAL and others have helped me,’ said de la Paz, who will graduate in May 2017.

”Financial resources have always been a concern for me,” added Moller, a computer science and mathematics major, member of the Roosevelt Lakers tennis team and native of Billings, Mont., who comes from limited means and receives a number of scholarships, including $500 annually from EALgreen.

“I’ve been working since my freshman year to increase my chances of getting scholarships,” added Moller. “There is no better feeling than being awarded for my efforts and I’d like to thank EAL for the scholarship. It’s helped lift financial stress off my shoulders.”

In all, approximately 500 Roosevelt students, including 90 this academic year, have received scholarships from EALgreen through a partnership in which colleges and universities, including Roosevelt, routinely order donated and discounted inventory from the suburban nonprofit, saving the planet’s resources as well as budget dollars that then are earmarked toward  student scholarships.

“EALgreen’s overarching mission is to make a college education possible by connecting companies that have usable goods with colleges and universities in need of those items,” said Claudia Freed, president and CEO of EALgreen, and EAL’s first scholarship recipient.

 “By creating this network, unwanted items find a new life outside of landfills and the savings realized by colleges is turned into scholarships for students who lack the financial resources to pay for college,” she said.

Paul Matthews, assistant vice president of campus planning and operations at Roosevelt, estimated the program has saved the University more than half a million dollars over the last three years. In addition, the University has received approximately $100,000 in cash donations from EALgreen for student scholarships,” he said.

“It is extremely satisfying to see the outcome of this program, which is to be able to provide our students with one more scholarship option that will help them with their college costs,” said Matthews.

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