It is 70 degrees with a 9 mile per hour wind…and I am loving it! Fall has finally arrived in Little Egypt. Everything goes better in the fall…even in our 2020 pandemic. MJ and I have discovered a wonderful feature of shopping at our local Kroger’s supermarket and Walmart. We place our order on line and then drive to a specified location at either store and the kind attendants bring the sacked groceries out to our car and place them in the trunk…or in the boot…as the English would say. MJ had been telling me that we should try this miracle of shopping for some time…but I was skeptical…but now I am a believer!
Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale made an announcement earlier this week that is incredible! It is called the SIU System Commitment. ‘Leaders say it is a ‘system wide initiative beginning Fall 2021 that will cover tuition and mandatory fees for a new four-year undergraduate students who have a family income of less than $63,575 and meet basic requirements.’ WSIL TV.
‘ Our goal is to remove barriers so that all qualified students have access to an SIU Carbondale education,’ said Austin A. Lane, SIU Carbondale Chancellor. ‘A college education opens doors that lead to rewarding careers, and no student should have those doors closed due to financial restraints.’
Having been associated with SIUC for 42 years…I was gobsmacked! I have not seen an initiative of this magnitude in my career with the university! This groundbreaking commitment extends higher educational opportunities to students from lower wage families, of which Southern Illinois is populated by, as well as young people from across the nation. Southern had a bedrock commitment to being a university for first generation college students and an outreach to the children of coal miners and farmers and factory workers during its period of greatest growth, under the leadership of former university president Delyte Morris.
For the past several years our states have walked away from the commitment to providing a higher education experience at our state universities. Tuition has risen exponentially and an increasing number of of students have been priced out of college. Southern Illinois Universities extension of this exciting opportunity to students from lower income families is the most exciting news that I have heard in 2020!
SIUC’s tremendous announcement regarding regarding the systems financial commitment to students from lower income families has renewed my faith that we will come out on the other side of this terrible pandemic! ‘Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning!’