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Aspire Campaign Aims to Raise $10 Million for Sustainable Affordability

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Affordability has been a focus for Grace College & Seminary since launching the three-year degree program almost a decade ago.  Now close to 30% of Grace students graduate in three years and many stay a fourth to complete a master’s degree.  In 2015, the Measure of Grace initiative lowered tuition by 9%, provided additional tuition reduction of $500 each year a student returns to Grace, and made free textbooks available to all undergraduate students.

One of four priorities of the Aspire Campaign for Grace College & Seminary is Sustainable Affordability.  This fourth and final priority continues efforts to make Grace an affordable college option for all students. The Aspire Campaign seeks to raise $10 million to specifically support the McClain Heritage Society, endowments and the Grace Fund.

In the mid-1990s, four women began to pray in earnest for the future of Grace College & Seminary. Kittie Grill, mother of Grace Dean Dr. Steve Grill, gathered together Marjorie Foote and Laura Peugh, both mothers of Grace graduates, and Pearl Elliot, a Grace staff member. They prayed every week for seven years, covering everything from students to faculty members to fundraising needs. Dr. Ron Manahan, past president of Grace College & Seminary, says that every blessing the campus experienced in those years can be traced directly to their prayers.

Before her passing, Kittie Grill established a charitable trust in Grace’s name – making her a McClain Heritage Society member – and the funds from that trust went towards remodeling the Prayer Room located in McClain Hall.  At the age of 96, just months before her passing, Kittie was able to sit in the renovated Prayer Room and praise God for allowing her to be part of the work He wanted to accomplish through Grace College & Seminary.

The McClain Heritage Society and endowments are closely related. Endowments bolster the financial health of Grace, aiding students and employing the best and brightest Christian faculty. Members of the McClain Heritage Society include Grace in estate plans or set up a gift annuity or charitable trust. Grace is seeking 100 new members and $5 million in planned and estate gifts for this portion of Sustainable Affordability.

The second focus of Sustainable Affordability is growth of the Grace Fund. The Grace Fund fills the gap between tuition revenue and actual institution expenses. It helps keep tuition affordable for students. The Aspire Campaign has reached $3.02 million of the $5 million goal for this portion of Sustainable Affordability.

The total goal of $10 million for Sustainable Affordability will allow students and their families to focus on educational possibilities, rather than the price tag of quality Christian higher education.  Grace will continue to seek and apply unique affordability options to make a Christ-centered college experience available to as many families as possible and provide for the sustainability of Grace College & Seminary far into the future.

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