Funding supports students with housing insecurity to complete their degrees
(Charleston, IL) – Eastern Illinois University has received a $200K grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to address the root causes of homelessness for post-secondary students and to promote pathways for those students’ academic success and degree completion.
IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro congratulated EIU for receiving the FY24 IBHE End Student Housing Insecurity (ESHI) grant, which gives EIU a unique and important opportunity to address the root causes of homelessness. As a recipient institution, EIU will provide and expand support services to students in need, allowing students experiencing housing insecurity to focus on completing their degrees at EIU.
“This IBHE grant gives EIU a phenomenal opportunity to help our displaced EIU students or students with housing security issues to more fully focus on their classroom success and degree completion,” said Jay Gatrell, EIU President. “We want to thank IBHE for assisting affected EIU students through this critical grant and for IBHE’s enduring commitment to creating a thriving Illinois.”
IBHE established the End Student Housing Insecurity (ESHI) grant to support institutions like EIU in addressing the root or systemic causes of homelessness and basic-needs insecurity among students. The State’s higher education strategic plan, A Thriving Illinois: Higher Education Paths to Equity, Sustainability, and Growth, calls for closing equity gaps for students who have been left behind. “There’s a sizable but invisible population of homeless students in the State of Illinois,“ said lead grant writer Suzie Park. “When students overcome unimaginably difficult barriers to reach college, it is our responsibility to help them cross the finish line and earn their degrees.” With the help of the IBHE grant, EIU commits to combatting housing insecurity, eliminating food insecurity, and expanding childcare access.
Leading the project and grant application process for EIU were Suzie Park, EIU Interim Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs; Crystal Brown, Manager of EIU’s Campus Food Pantry & EIU Associate Director of Office of Leadership & Engagement; Mandi Starwalt, HOUSE Liaison & EIU Director of Financial Aid; and Anne Flaherty, Vice President for Student Affairs. Senior Personnel at EIU and other community partners include Mona Davenport, Benefits Navigator, EIU Dean of Student Success, Yesenia Muruato, EIU Undocumented Students Liaison, Lindsay Partlow, EIU Assistant Director for Administration—EIU Housing, Jennifer Stout, EIU Associate Director of Veteran Services & Athletics, Melissa Coleman, EIU Higher Education Navigator, Outreach Coordinator & Data Specialist, Teresa Metzger, Regional Office of Education #11, and Kristen Holly, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services for Charleston Community Unit School District #1.
“EIU is intensely focused on creating opportunities for success, and this grant is another important step toward student equity and accessibility at EIU,” Gatrell said. “I can’t thank everyone involved enough for their assistance and support, and their commitment to EIU students and our shared community.”
EIU prepares students to accomplish their life goals through a combination of quality academics, personal relationships, and both on-campus and online learning opportunities. For more information about Eastern Illinois University, including its broad array of academic and career readiness programs, or any of EIU’s other community-based services and opportunities, visit eiu.edu or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.