Morton College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $66 million-dollar balanced budget with no increase in tuition for Fiscal Year 2023 at its August meeting, providing the almost 100-year-old institution to carry on with its mission of educating and serving the communities of Berwyn, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook and Stickney.
Morton College offers high-quality academic programs with the resources our students need to thrive and flourish in today’s global economy. A lesser-known component, which is equally critical to carrying out its mission, comes in delivering a variety of programming and services for all ages.
Soon, future and current students will be better served in the new One-Stop Center, which will house all essential student services under one roof.
Morton College’s commitment to technology continues with an emphasis on becoming a globally recognized innovator in the education profession for online learning. The pandemic brought on a rapid shift to online learning, but Morton College realizes this educational modality is here to stay.
Additionally, Morton College is bridging the digital divide by providing laptop computers to students enrolled in a minimum of two courses or six credit hours for the Fall 2022 semester.
With an increase in the number of Student Success Coaches, students receive personal attention to meet their educational goals.
Morton College is committed to ensuring that basic needs such as food and transportation are not barriers for students. The Panther Pantry provides food staples, meal and transportation vouchers.
In keeping with a sound body equals a sound mind, Morton College’s three-year-old Fitness Center is a shining example. The Center is free to all Morton College students, staff and faculty and the residents of Morton College Community District 527.
Intercollegiate athletics at Morton College is essential to the school’s mission. The Vais Gymnasium has been renovated with stadium-style seating and a “jumbotron” scoreboard that provides a first-class atmosphere for events on campus ranging from athletics to commencement.
Morton College oversees Goss Field, which is used by baseball, softball, and soccer. Noted White Sox groundskeeper Roger “The Sodfather” Bossard renovated the baseball and softball fields.
Morton College also is meeting new state mandates with the addition of a benefits navigator and a resource liaison for undocumented students. The benefits navigator is an on-campus point person who assists students with accessing essential services, while the undocumented student resource liaison helps undocumented and mixed-status students with information for all available financial aid and academic opportunities.
Additionally, Morton College continues its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion with the Latino Thought Makers fall residency. Latino Thought Makers builds bridges of understanding in cultural diversity through personal and comedic dialogue. It showcases critical thinking as it relates to entertainment and education and provides the audience an opportunity to be a part of a greater dialogue and motivational story-telling experience with guests such as Edward James Olmos, Luis Guzman and Dr. Cornel West.
Future Panthers’ needs are met through summer STEAMers and theatre camp, which provide grade-schoolers a taste of Morton College’s high-quality educational product.
In addition, Morton College secures a sound financial future with a nearly 10-fold increase in the Operating Fund Balance that is comprised of the Education Fund and Operation and Maintenance Fund, which has grown from $3.7 million in FY 2016 to $25.7 million in FY 2023 (unaudited).
The Operating Fund Balance supports the resources, programs and renovations, and also covers the salaries and benefits of employees at Morton College as well as other expenses that allow the institution to operate.
“We’ve been able to gradually increase the Operating Fund Balance the last few years by keeping expenses down,” said Mireya Perez, Morton College’s Chief Financial Officer. “We strive for fiscally responsible planning for our immediate and future needs while providing high-quality academic programming and state-of-the-art facilities.”
Morton College also aggressively pursues outside funding, recently receiving $7.8 million in grants to bolster educational programs, $19 million from HEERF (Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund) and $1 million from the Illinois State Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds.
Another sign of Morton College’s financial house being in order is receiving a “clean” opinion for the second straight year on its annual Comprehensive Financial Report. Perez said this is best rating to receive from an independent review.
“We are encouraged by the continued dedication of our faculty, administrators, staff and the Board of Trustees to make Morton College an excellent place for higher education,” said Blanca Jara, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “Our community is deserving of all the investments made to our institution—we invite everyone to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Jara noted it is vital for the fully accredited institution to continue to focus on maintaining a financially sustainable organization while doubling down on our commitment to the college community’s academic success.