Valparaiso University has recently become the recipient of a one million dollar grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. that was given to the university in order to work towards a sustainable future. 

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a philanthropic organization created in 1937 in Indianapolis, Ind. with the purpose of giving grants to further progress of education and religious endeavours. The money the university received is through a program the organization started two years ago called Charter the Future.

“The Lilly Endowment established a program two years ago called charting the future and they have a lot of money to give out to college and universities around the state,” said Interim Provost Richard Gilman. 

This program was designed to give grants to all the eligible universities all across the state of Indiana to help keep the school financially afloat and prevent them from the danger of shutting down. It also works as a way to increase the number of college graduates and jobs in Indiana. 

“The title charting the future reflects their interests, the Lilly endowments interest in finding pathways for each of these schools to be sustainable in the future,” Gilman said. 

News about the school receiving the grant broke out in late Sept. and it was announced by both the Interim President Colette Irwin-Knott and Gillman that the money received would be used in furthering the schools four year plan for developing online graduate programs. 

“We had said that one of the things we needed to do as an institution was to develop a robust online graduate education because even four years ago we saw online graduate education as sort of a necessary path of sustainability for Valpo,” Gilman said. 

With the money given from the grant the school looks to starting the online programs with the intent of bringing in more students from areas far away from the university.

According to Gilman, online graduate programs will help Valpo reach a broader audience. 

“Online graduate education allows us to reach out to a larger population in Indiana,” Gilman said.

The creation of the programs would have a target audience of adults in the state who are looking to go back to school and live further away from campus. The programs themselves will involve courses for nursing, health care, business and other majors.  The online work is meant for the purpose of providing sustainable education for the people of the state. It would only be held for those who live in the state of Indiana and give them the chance to sign up for classes without having to do them in person. 

“The data shows that most people who take online programs, take online programs that are within a hundred miles from where they live,” Gilman said. 

The online programs are beneficial to the university because it will bring in more students which then would increase the amount of money brought in to the school. The rise in the universities revenue will help put the school in a sustainable position for the future which is the exact purpose of the grant. It helps enrich the school by using the money received by the grant to help boost the academics and faculty of the university.  

“It provides us with some administrative structure that we need,” Gilman said. 

With the online programs in place the school can hire more faculty such as lead managers, structural designers and course developers to maintain and work the programs. 

Given that the plan is to make the school sustainable for the future the university will not only be able to have more students, but also use the money made from the online programs to help finance the undergraduate programs here on campus.

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