The failure of Illinois government to produce a state budget continues to challenge Greenville College. Legislators locked in a stalemate have withheld $1.3M in financial aid promised to about one third of GC’s students. The students had expected to receive the funds from the state’s Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, earlier this year.
The College filled the funding gap last semester by providing $650,000 to the affected students. College officials recently announced that the College would fill the gap in this semester’s funding as well. Voluntary separations and early retirements from more than 40 faculty and staff have made the redirection of funds possible.
“We’re doing this because we care deeply for our students,” explained President Ivan Filby. “We want to stand by them and help them succeed.” Students qualifying for MAP funds at Greenville College average $4,400 in annual assistance from the program.
While the shift of $1.3M to financial relief for students significantly impacts the College’s operation, Filby acknowledges that his team has managed the challenge in a responsible and godly way. “I don’t know anyone who has done it better,” he said.
Colleges and universities statewide have implemented various measures in response to the funding crisis, including mandatory furloughs, sweeping layoffs, shortened semesters and declaration of financial exigency.
Officials say a “silver lining” to the streamlined workforce and subsequent restructuring at Greenville College is the opportunity it gives the institution to realign its resources and more efficiently accomplish the work laid out in its strategic plan.
Filby reports that current programs at the College remain intact; the launch this fall of new degree programs in engineering and agribusiness remain on schedule. Recent initiatives including accreditation of the College’s social work program and aggressive recruitment of international students continue. The College also remains on track to assume university status in 2017.
Still, threats to enrollment persist. These include a 12 percent decline in high school graduates in the Midwest over the next 15 years and the exodus of college-bound high school graduates from Illinois to neighboring states.
“We remain committed to our students, but still face significant challenges,” said Filby. “I am confident we will continue to deliver our mission in compelling ways.”
For more information call the President’s Office at (618) 664-7000.