2011 News Articles
Benedictine is putting “Illinois Back to Work” with tuition-covered program

Benedictine is putting “Illinois Back to Work” with tuition-covered program
June 13, 2011

Phil Brozynski
(630) 829-6094
pbrozynski@ben.edu

Illinois Back to Work “…I commend them for their effort to make college affordable for Illinoisans trying to retrain and return to the workforce.” – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) 

Lisle, Illinois ~ Eight million jobs were lost during the recent recession. Although the nation added about 86,000 jobs per month last year, the unemployment rate is still running at about 9 percent. More job growth will be needed to help the recovery along.

Though the job outlook is improving, the job market itself is changing. Traditional manufacturing jobs may never recover from their losses. Carpenters, assembly workers and software engineers were also hit hard by the recession. 

On the other hand, areas such as international business, finance, health care and technology will enjoy some of the largest growth between now and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

However, regardless of the field a job applicant hopes to enter, a college degree is a necessity. Not only is the unemployment rate for those without a degree higher than for those with one, the demand among employers for workers with postsecondary degrees will continue to surge while high school graduates will find themselves largely left behind. Degreed workers can also expect to make more than $1 million more in their lifetime than non-degreed workers according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

That is why Benedictine University established the “Illinois Back to Work” program for qualified individuals who have been unemployed for at least 18 months. Applications are currently being accepted for select tuition-covered adult format undergraduate programs beginning fall 2011. Benedictine’s “Illinois Back to Work” program will cover any remaining tuition and after all eligible state and federal student aid is applied. 

“Benedictine University is taking an innovative approach to putting ‘Illinois Back to Work’ and I commend them for their effort to make college affordable for Illinoisans trying to retrain and return to the workforce,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “I hope this program is a great success and can serve as a model for other states and universities.”

Qualified applicants must be Illinois residents 25 years of age and older who have been unemployed for at least 18 months and have not already earned a bachelor’s degree. Students who find a job while participating in the program may still be eligible to participate. 

The program will be offered on the main campus in Lisle, at Benedictine’s Moser Center for Adult and Professional Studies in Naperville and at the branch campus in Springfield.

Eligible Lisle adult undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. Eligible Naperville programs include an Associate of Arts in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership. 

Eligible Springfield programs include an Associate of Arts in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organizational Behavior. 

To enroll in the Illinois Back to Work program, applicants should follow these steps: 

1. Schedule an appointment with an Admissions counselor.

2. Complete and return a program application (the application fee is waived).

3. Prepare a written statement indentifying career goals and indicating why you should receive free tuition.

4. Order transcripts from all schools previously attended.

5. File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov and use Benedictine’s school code: 001767.

6. Research scholarship opportunities to pay for textbooks.

7. Meet with an Academic advisor to talk about courses and get enrolled.

8. Meet with a Financial Aid counselor to talk about loan options (if needed).

9. Schedule an appointment with a Career Development representative.

10. Participate in New Student Orientation (your advisor will have details). 

“We believe this program will give many people who are currently unemployed and who have little prospect for returning to work in their current situation greater job opportunities in the future,” said William J. Carroll, Ph.D., president of Benedictine University. “We want to help people get back to school and back to work.” 

For more information or to get started, call the Enrollment Center at (630) 829-6300.

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Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 53 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate and four doctorate programs. Benedictine University is ranked as a Top School in the Midwest (11th in Illinois) for Master's Universities, 12th in the Midwest (and sixth in Illinois) for Racial Diversity, and eighth in Illinois for Freshmen Retention for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.