College is expensive, no matter who you are. Many students do not qualify for need-based scholarships or grants because their parents make ‘too much money’. However, that doesn’t mean that a family can afford to pay $20,000 a year for college. This is where merit-based scholarships, like the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) scholarship, can help.


Monique Maldonado, an East Chicago resident, received the FEC scholarship in the year 2000. She had dreams of going to college but could not afford to pay the tuition on her own.


“I applied for the FEC scholarship because I believed it was a great opportunity to receive some assistance with my college education,” said Monique. “Most scholarships were need-based and I did not qualify. This scholarship took into consideration my merit which was a nice relief.”


Monique was able to renew her FEC scholarship over the course of her four years combined at Purdue University Northwest and Columbia College.


“My college experience was not only educational. It also taught me an extreme amount of discipline and dedication,” said Monique. “College was not an easy adventure, but definitely an adventure I am thankful for.”


Two years after Monique completed her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she went on to work as a counselor at DePaul University in Chicago. While there, she decided to apply to the Liberal Arts program where she received her Master’s degree in New Media Studies.


Currently, Monique is working as the Marketing Director for Latin Rhythms Academy of Dance and Performance in Chicago. She credits her FEC scholarship with helping her get to where she is today.


“Any assistance you can receive to alleviate the burden of paying for a college education is a true gift,” said Monique.


FEC awards merit-based scholarships to East Chicago residents every year. For more information on the FEC scholarship program, visit