Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Ryan Gower is encouraging prospective students from Lawrence County and the surrounding area to apply to the colleges in the system before October 30th.  Students that apply before that priority deadline will be first in line for scholarships offered by each of the four schools. Gower added that community colleges offer students the chance to stay close to home to obtain an education and avoid higher tuition and the costs of university housing and meals. The IECC is also going to help students fill out their FAFSA applications through a series of virtual FAFSA events in October beginning with the first on Thursday, the 8th from 5-7 p.m. Those interested can contact any IECC school for more info.