The Candor

The Illinois Back to School Program

By Patricia Luckoo
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Benedictine University is helping to put “Illinois Back to Work” with a new program that helps the unemployed become more marketable in the changing job market.

According to Census Bureau reports, of the 9 percent of Illinoisans who are currently unemployed, most do not have a college degree. Therefore, a problem that many non-degreed jobseekers face may be the need for higher education and training.

There is a surge among employers for degreed workers leaving those with only a high school degree at a disadvantage.  Degreed workers are also expected to out earn non-degree workers more than $1 million in their lifetime.

Going back to school for most unemployed is not possible without financial help.  Undergraduate tuition can cost up to $515 per credit hour depending on the program.

Benedictine’s “Illinois Back to Work” program will cover the remaining tuition and fees after all eligible federal and state aid is applied.

“Benedictine University is taking an innovative approach to putting Illinois Back to Work,” stated U.S Senator Dick Durbin. “I commend them for their effort to make college affordable for Illinoisans trying to re-train and return to the workforce. I hope this program is a great success and can serve as a model for other states and universities.”

“This program is designed to help those people who have been out of work for a long time, who can’t afford an education, we’re going to make it possible that they can,” Phil Brozynski, spokesman for the university, said to ABC News earlier this year.

Qualified applicants must be Illinois residents 25 years of age and older, unemployed for at least 18 months and not have a bachelor’s degree. Benedictine University expects to offer 200 students a free tuition throughout their three campuses.

At the recent Women’s Leadership Summit, William J. Caroll, Ph.D., president of BenU said, “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. We want to help people get back to school and work.”

Eligible programs at the Lisle campus include Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting as well as Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.

Naperville programs include an Associate of Arts in Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts in Management and Organizational Leadership.

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

Enrollment is now taking place. For more information on how to get started, contact the Enrollment Center at (630) 829-6300.