Eastern’s year in review

Analicia Haynes, Editor-in-Chief

By Analicia Haynes

Editor-in-Chief | @Haynes1943

Eastern President David Glassman will give his State of the University Address from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Dvorak Concert Hall of the Doudna Fine Arts Center. 

Glassman said in an email sent to the campus community that he will outline this year’s budget, goals and opportunities as well as talk about the “successes” Eastern has had.

Year in Review

Eastern has seen several changes this year compared to last, including receiving state appropriations, the deployment of a new college reorganization plan that was introduced in April 2018, enrollment increases, a new merit scholarship model and a grant opportunity for future students that is funded by the state.

After Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a $38.5 billion budget into law in June 2018 for Fiscal Year 2018-2019, Eastern saw a 2 percent increase in state appropriations. 

This came after a two-year-long budget impasse that forced Eastern to dig into its reserves, front the money for the Monetary Award Program grants, lay off about 200 employees and establish the vitalization project, which resulted in the new college reorganization plan that was introduced by Eastern Provost Jay Gatrell last April. 

The Board of Trustees approved the new plan at a June 22 meeting. This plan created a new College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that combined the College of Arts and Humanities and the College of Sciences and the College of Health and Human Services. 

This year, Eastern has seen an increase in enrollment according to the tenth day numbers.

Overall enrollment increased by 7 percent, and freshmen enrollment increased by nearly 25 percent.

In an article from Sept. 4 in The Daily Eastern News titled, “Freshmen numbers up 24.5 percent from last year, total headcount up 7 percent,” Paul McCann, the interim vice president of business affairs, said with the increase in enrollment he has to take another look at the proposed budget.

In the article, he said it was nowhere near the initial 9 percent decrease he originally predicted at a June 22 Board of Trustees meeting.

Ultimately, he said the increase is something to be excited about because of the large turnaround in enrollment, according to the article. 

Along with an increase in enrollment, Eastern revamped its merit scholarship model and revealed the EIU Promise Program, which is funded by the state’s AIM HIGH grant program. 

The new scholarship model has a base ACT score of 20 and looks more at a student’s GPA rather than ACT score in order to determine what award the student will receive. 

The EIU Promise Program is expected to reduce or offset the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees (except for room and board and course-specific fees) for qualified incoming Illinois students. 

This was introduced as a way to curb out-migration and encourage student retention. 

According to a Sept. 16 article in The Daily Eastern News titled “AIM HIGH Grant funding will make Eastern accessible to bigger pool of future students,” Josh Norman, the associate vice president of enrollment management, said this means Eastern will receive just shy of $1 million from the grant.

Starting with its Fall 2019 incoming class, Eastern will use three funding mechanisms supported by the grant funding.

They are:

• EIU Promise

Eastern will offset the remaining balance of a student’s tuition and fee costs for resident families demonstrating a family income of $61,000 or less.

• EIU Cost Match

Eastern will match the out-of-pocket cost of attendance of any regionally accredited public university in Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. To qualify, Illinois students can submit their financial aid award letters from qualifying institutions in those states.

• EIU Merit Scholarship Bonus

An additional $500 will be added to any of the three merit scholarships provided by Eastern.

The distinguished merit scholarship currently offers $4,000 annually, the high achieving merit scholarship offers $3,000 annually and the academic merit scholarship offers $2,000. 

By combining merit scholarship benefits with state-funded AIM HIGH scholarships, qualified Eastern students are eligible to earn up to $18,000 in scholarship funding over four years or eight semesters.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]