All In For Wesleyan - Information for Volunteers

Participation matters

  • When IWU’s donor participation increases:

  1. IWU gets a boost in college rankings (and the value of every IWU degree increases)

  2. IWU is more likely to get funding from private foundations and others.  Recently, IWU lost a $250,000 grant from the A.V. Davis Foundation---and they referenced our low participation rate as a primary reason for us not being awarded the grant.  This is a foundation with a history of significant giving to IWU.

  3. IWU's bond rating improves, which strengthens the University's financial position

  • We are last in our peer group in alumni donor participation at 22%. Still, IWU realized a 20% increase in participation in FY13, so we have good momentum. 

Illinois Wesleyan has need

  • More than 90% of IWU students receive financial aid or scholarship.

  • We currently allocate over $32 million for financial aid (35 percent of our total operating budget), a number that has increased from $23 million (29.7 percent) five years ago. We can’t sustain this level of increase.

  • IWU strives to keep the total loan amount for students under $30,000, and we are mindful of the consequences of excessive loan indebtedness.  Still, IWU is unable to meet full financial aid for our students.  In fact, 67% of IWU students receiving financial aid are “gapped”--and after grants, scholarships and federally subsidized loans, the typical student still has a $6,600 gap.
  • The percentage of students from low socioeconomic status families — that is, students who are eligible to receive the Pell Grant — has increased from 11 percent to 20 percent.

  • IWU’s endowment, at $228 million, is about $100 MILLION LESS than the AVERAGE of our peer group (Augustana, Carleton, Denison, DePauw, Franklin & Marshall, Kenyon, Knox, Lawrence, Macalester, Rhodes, St. Olaf, Wooster).

  • We have the third lowest total cost among this group of 13 school -- we’re doing what we can not to simply pass the burden on to current students and their families.

Belt-tightening measures

  • Reduction in retirement benefit for all faculty and staff

  • Salary freeze for all faculty and staff

  • May Term no longer free to students

  • Reduction in faculty/staff positions (IWU already has 25% fewer staff than our peers)

  • IWU now 25% leaner than peer institutions on staffing

Good news

  • Standard & Poor’s upgraded our bond rating from BBB+ to A-, while most schools are going backward or at best staying constant.

  • Sterling Partners and Bain & Company released a report in July indicating that Illinois Wesleyan is in the top 40 percent of all public and private universities in the country in terms of financial health. A key measure used in that study is the ability to control costs relative to income. The remaining 60 percent either were judged to be “at risk of slipping into an unsustainable financial condition” or “have been on an unsustainable financial path in recent years.”

  • We still have strong student interest. Last year’s incoming class of 528 students was selected from some 3,500 applications. We missed our enrollment target because we ran out of financial aid...not because we ran out of interest.

  • We made gains this year in our ranking within several major publications, including US News & World Report.  We have performed very well relative to peers, given our financial constraints.

  • Over the last 10 years, our endowment has realized a 8.7% return, while our peers have averaged 7% returns over that same span.  We are managing our money very well.