March 22, 2005

SIUC will award $500 grants to those graduating in 4 years

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Walter V. Wendler announced today (March 23) that undergraduate students who enter the University as freshmen and graduate in four years will receive $500 in their last semester of study. The University will also offer guaranteed scholarships for teachers and is creating new opportunities with Community College scholarships.

“Finish in Four Scholarships, which will begin in fall 2005, are designed to encourage more students to complete their studies sooner, saving their families, SIUC, the taxpayers and the State of Illinois considerable sums of money,” Wendler explained in his State of the University address.

Those same students, who have proven their aptitude and tenacity would be eligible for an additional one-time $1,000 scholarship if they enroll in full-time graduate studies at SIUC in the next year. Those moving to the SIU School of Law will receive $2,000 awards and those entering the SIU School of Medicine will receive $2,000.

Wendler has been spending time visiting Southern Illinois school districts in the past few months. He has heard from many teachers that they desire a closer link to the University as they work on advanced degrees and coursework. Beginning fall 2005, SIUC will offer a $250 scholarship for any full-time teachers, counselors and administrators from Illinois public and private schools who enroll in graduate study at SIUC.

The University offers graduate courses at its main campus in Carbondale, and at other off-campus locations.

“This is good for us, it is good for the individuals who study here, but most importantly in this case, it is good for the communities and students of Illinois,” Wendler said. The program is modest, but represents the kind of commitment that will have a long-term positive impact on Illinois.

Meanwhile the University also is strengthening its linkages with all state community colleges. Community colleges have all been given two $1,000 scholarships they may award to top students completing associate degrees. Community colleges in deep Southern Illinois that are part of the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market will receive two $2,000 scholarships, Wendler said.

The modest scholarships translate into big savings when students look at the actual price instead of the sticker price for tuition and fees, Wendler said. About 78 percent of all students at SIUC qualify for some type of financial aid. The $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships actually create more opportunity than scholarships three and four times that amount for private colleges and universities.

“We know that students and their families a looking for real opportunities, top-notch programs and cost-effective answers,” Wendler said. “We know they can find all three here at Southern,”

Wendler heralded the University’s progress toward far-reaching goals set in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the University’s long-range plan. Progress has been made on academic fronts and the University has $186 million worth of construction projects under way even in the challenging economic realities that face state institutions.

Wendler also touched on a variety of other achievements, including:

  • The average ACT score for entering freshmen has climbed from 21.44 to 22.5;
  • The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) ranking of Morris Library has climbed from 79 to 86.
  • SIUC’s Morris Library will also hire a Political Papers Archivist to support processing the collections of the late Sen. Paul Simon, former Congressman Kenny Gray, former Congressman Glenn Poshard, now chair of SIU’s Board of Trustees, and Congressman Jerry Costello.
  • SIUC has recruited three National Science Foundation Career Award winners, chemists Boyd Goodson and Yong Gow, and Haibo Wang, a professor in electrical and computer engineering.
  • The University saw total research and development expenditures grow 24 percent (from $43 million to $54 million between fiscal years 2001 and 2004
  • The university has new programs offering
    • A master’s degree in workforce education through military bases in Orange County (Calif.)
    • A new master’s degree in Legal Studies
    • A new doctoral program in Applied Physics – geared at creating jobs in new and emerging technologies
    • A new Center for Rural Schools and Communities
    • A new Global Media Research Center
    • A new Center for Cognitive and Neural Sciences
  • SIUC also is working on developing a Ph.D. in agriculture and a master’s degree in architecture.

As the University moves forward with planning a comprehensive campaign, it has received an anonymous gift from a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts – a planned estate gift of $2.4 million.

SIUC has instituted a new series of Excellence Achieved awards for faculty and staff funded at an aggregate level of $161,000 annually. Winners of the awards receive cash, stipends and University watches graced with SIUC’s new Pulliam Hall clock tower logo.

To reach Chancellor Walter V. Wendler for interviews, please contact Sue Davis:

Cell 618-521-9391, Office 628-453-1430, home 618-529-2342

Chancellor Wendler will be available for interviews after 4:20 p.m. today.