Vincennes University has submitted its biennial budget request to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The school is seeking money for projects including a Career and Technical Early College Initiative and a dual credit program for high school students.
October 23, 2014
Vincennes, Ind. — Vincennes University is seeking support to move the state strategically forward, according to VU President Dick Helton.
Presenting VU's biennial budget request Thursday afternoon to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Helton said VU seeks to expand its successful statewide outreach that enables students to complete college credit, including associate degrees, while attending high school.
Helton said VU's six Early Colleges at high school sites allow students to complete 60 college credit hours, saving students more than $13,500, and graduate without debt. Nearly 350 associate degrees have been awarded to Early College students since the first site, Ben Davis University High School, opened in 2007.
In addition to two additional Early Colleges that will open in 2015, Helton said VU seeks $3 million in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 to create a Career and Technical Early College Initiative, opening new sites for students at 47 Career and Technical Centers that enroll more than 31,000 students. He said that VU’s budget request would cover half of the funding needed with the rest coming from partnerships with local school corporations, communities, industry, and foundations.
VU will also seek $3.1 million in each of the next two years to support its Project EXCEL program that offers duel credit to high school students at 144 partner schools throughout 71 counties. Helton said that in 2013-14, the program provided 52,376 credit hours to 8,985 students, “saving Hoosier families and taxpayers millions of dollars.”
Helton said the growth of Project EXCEL and the Early Colleges illustrate VU's response to a growing number of requests from statewide partners seeking to achieve strategic goals. These partners include school corporations, communities, and key industries.
As a former Indiana school superintendent himself, Helton said that he takes pride in nurturing partnerships that benefit individual students, at all levels, in ways that also boost the economic development strategy of the state and local communities.
“It's all based on relationships built on trust and strengthened through delivering on promises made over the long haul. VU has done that and will continue doing that,” Helton said.
Responding to the skill gaps identified by key industries is another way that VU is helping the state grow. One example Helton cited is the launch this fall of VU’s Advanced Internship in Manufacturing program, a partnership with Subaru of Indiana, an expanding Lafayette company seeking to hire 900 additional workers.
He said it complements VU's existing Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program partnership that enables students to achieve a degree in Computer Integrated Manufacturing, while simultaneously working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, another growing company near Princeton that is hiring more employees. Both automotive partnerships enable students to graduate debt free while also addressing the skills gap both companies face when seeking new employees.
Adapting the program to various size companies, a similar program has been developed at the VU Jasper Campus with a consortium of local companies with more than 11,000 Indiana employees.
Complementing VU's industrial partnerships is VU's longtime relationship with companies that mine Indiana coal, which fuels more than 80 percent of Hoosier electricity. Helton said that more than 8,000 miners are trained per year through the VU Mine Safety and Health Training program. He said VU is currently seeking federal and corporate support to develop a $2 million underground mock mine in Gibson County to improve hands-on training in the latest mine safety technology.
Beyond outreach efforts statewide, Helton said VU's biennium budget request also includes two key capital projects for its Vincennes Campus. To support Indiana’s growing emphasis on the bioscience industry and meet the need for more engineers, VU seeks $25 million for a new Center of Science, Engineering and Mathematics. The proposed building includes 19 labs specializing in chemistry, physics, biology, and earth sciences. VU also seeks $5 million to renovate Davis Hall.
VU's budget request also includes $2.7 million in each of the next two years for performance funding, $1.7 million for repair and rehabilitation, and $1.5 million for building controls upgrade and replacement.
VINCENNES UNIVERSITY – Indiana’s First College
VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as Indianapolis and the Gibson County Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics. VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.
In addition to offering 200 associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and science, and special education/elementary education.
VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 28 other states, and 30 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information is available at www.vinu.edu.
Source: Vincennes University