New $100 million campaign strives to recruit and retain WIU students
MACOMB (WGEM) - Efforts are underway at Western Illinois University to raise $100 million for the school’s “For the W” campaign. The campaign is directing funding towards scholarships, faculty support, technology and academic and student support programs.
During the quiet phase, the campaign has raised over $42 million. Now in the public phase, Executive Officer of the WIU Foundation Brad Bainter said it’s crucial to reach the $100 million goal as it will set up WIU for future success.
“I’ve always felt that our faculty and our students deserve the same support from our alumni as any other university in the country,” Bainter said.
Bainter added that once the campaign reaches its goal, the available funding could attract more students to campus.
“The one thing we never want to see happen here is a student leave because they have a need for money, and certainly the expenses of college are well documented across the country, so we need to support that in any way we can,” Bainter said.
Junior psychology major Theodore Bania said that scholarships played a big part in his decision to come to WIU. He said more funding could improve accessibility to higher education.
“That’s part of the reason I chose Western in the first place was the fact that they were willing to give so much scholarship money to me,” Bania said. “This is something where they’re really pushing to help the students and making it more accessible for people.”
Sophomore music business major Jaiden Brown added that more scholarship money means more students on campus.
“They’re giving more people the opportunity to come here, they’re giving more people the opportunity to get that higher education,” Brown said.
With a recent history of enrollment decline, numbers are beginning trend upwards. Vice President for Enrollment Management Amber Schultz said large campaigns like this could be a part of what helps get WIU back on track for the long haul.
“For many of the Western Illinois University students, there’s no way they can have access to higher education without those dollars,” Schultz said. “Our students depend on the donor dollars in order to be able to come to Western, but also to be able to get through.”
Bainter said he hopes to have reached the goal by 2027.
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