Shortly after I became president, I embarked on a listening tour that lasted most of the summer. During that tour I spent time with our residential campus enrollment counselors who work directly with prospective IWU students and their families.
They told me stories of students who want to come to IWU, and whose families want their students to come here, but who cannot close the gap between their aid and the cost to attend. Many students who do attend will take on more debt than we or they would like, and too many are forced to turn away from IWU simply because they can’t make up the gap.
This should not be. IWU was founded on the principle of providing access to anyone who truly wanted to pursue a degree in an openly Christ-centered environment.
We are called not only to offer such an education, but to offer it to as many students as we can. We must find every way possible to make education available to the broadest number of students at a reasonable and accessible cost.
I have called this our pursuit to become a high-impact, low-debt Christian university. This summer, Dr. Keith Newman and the leadership team for our residential programs willingly took on the challenge to identify pathways that would allow students to graduate from IWU’s residential campus with no more than $10,000 in total debt.
Our Board of Trustees embraced this goal at their October meeting.
The team has made it their first priority to identify a low-debt pathway for a very specific group of students – our highest-financial-need Indiana students.
I am delighted to report that our team has identified a pathway for our highest-need Indiana residents to attend IWU for four years and graduate with no more than $10,000 in student loan debt.
As we announced to the media today, we’re calling this the Hoosier 10K Plan.
This program rests on some simple, sound principles for student success. Our associate vice president for financial aid, Thomas Ratliff, drew upon the myriad options offered by our excellent financial aid department to create the basic building blocks of the plan.
- Be an Indiana resident
- Have $0 in expected family contributions to their education annually (as determined by the Federal government)
- File for federal student aid by March 10th prior to fall enrollment
- Earn and maintain eligibility to retain an IWU Faculty Scholarship (or a similar scholarship of higher amount)
- Have an annual $900 Church Matching Scholarship
- Be willing to work 10 to 15 hours weekly during the school year towards tuition costs
- Actively pursue additional outside scholarship throughout their college experience
- Consistently earn 30 credit hours per year towards their degree
This plan will be available for new students beginning fall 2014. IWU offers a wide range of other options that can add to or replace aspects of this plan. If you would like to learn more about how to qualify for the Hoosier 10K Plan, please contact Daniel Solms, IWU Financial Aid Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (866) 468-6498.
I am excited that we’ve identified this low-debt pathway for Indiana students who need the financial help the most. But this is just our first shot at addressing the “accessibility and affordability” challenge.
Our team is working hard right now on further solutions that will help ease the financial burden for more of the students and families who would like to come to IWU.
We are determined for IWU to truly become a high-impact, low-debt Christian university.
Stay tuned for more.