Bethel Students Stress Importance of Need-Based Financial Aid at Statehouse

Students from Indiana’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities, including Bethel College, want to deliver three messages in person at the Statehouse on Tuesday, April 9:  Sincere thanks for the legislators’ ongoing commitment to state need-based financial aid for students; the urgent need for their continued support of this program; and the critical importance of increasing the number of Hoosiers with bachelor’s degrees to Indiana’s economy.

In this last of three student lobby days coordinated by Independent Colleges of Indiana, 14 ICI campuses are participating: DePauw, Marian, Butler, Grace, Goshen, Huntington, Bethel, University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Valparaiso, Saint Joseph’s College, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and University of Evansville.

Students will gather first at the Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio Street beginning at 10:30 a.m. Before walking to the Statehouse at noon to meet with their hometown legislators, the students will be briefed by ICI President Richard Ludwick on current legislative issues involving state-funded, need-based student aid, as well as someone from the legislature.

Bethel Assistant Professor of Linguistics Eric Oglesbee, Ph.D., will attend along with six Bethel students. He says this meeting is important for several reasons. One of those is generating awareness on the political process for students and showing them how to participate.

“By encouraging students to talk to their state legislatures about this particular issue, I'm hopeful that it will increase the likelihood that these students might take initiative regarding other issues that concern them later in life,” says Oglesbee.

In addition, he says each of the Bethel students attending has received state aid.

“I feel that it is appropriate for legislators to hear how this gift has been used and why it is important to continue funding students who choose to attend private colleges,” says Oglesbee.

Indiana’s independent colleges and universities are a smart investment for students and the state, graduating twice as many of their students in four years as any other sector of higher education in Indiana, costing the state less per degree because the campuses themselves receive no state funding, and contributing $4B in total economic impact around the state.

Independent Colleges of Indiana is a membership association that serves as the collective voice for the state’s 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI member institutions enroll some 90,000 students (approximately 20 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 2,000 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 19 countries, more than 25 denominations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Nursing programs are also offered in cooperation with Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.