President Mearns, SGA discuss strategic plan

President Geoffrey Mearns hosted a strategic forum with Student Government Association (SGA) at Wednesday’s senate meeting.

Mearns and senators discussed the proposed strategic plan, “Spreading Our Wings,” which outlines the university’s goals for the years 2024 and 2040.

Mearns said he wanted senators input on the plan, specifically related to the plan’s first goal on undergraduate education.

“The value of the student input is so important,” Mearns said. “The value of your voices is critical to our success, not just in this planning process, but in the ongoing planning process.”

The plan, which was unveiled earlier this semester, has been discussed by faculty, staff and students in three previous forums.

RELATED: Ball State strategic plan open forums come to a close

Senators discussed topics ranging from tuition to bilingual students to immersive learning.

Several senators voiced confusion on Ball State’s recent changes to programs granting in-state tuition to out-of-state students.

RELATED: Ball State removes programs granting in-state tuition to out-of-state students

Mearns said the interstate agreement that granted in-state tuition “constrains” how Ball State offers scholarships to out-of-state students.

“We don’t intend to retreat from offering scholarship support to out-of-state students. In fact, we want to continue to that more and even better,” Mearns said. “But we want to do it flexibly and strategically.”

Mearns said Ball State is not “diminishing” its commitment to provide financial support to out-of-state students.

Senator Jocelyne Rico said she wanted Ball State to better connect with bilingual and first generation college families.

She said Ball State could provide materials other languages for parents like hers that don’t speak fluent English.

“It was very difficult for my mom… to understand the concept of college,” Rico said. “First generation college student — I didn’t know what to expect, she didn’t know what to expect so she didn’t know how to help me.”

Because of this and the language differences, she said both her and mother struggled when Rico applied to college. Rico said they had a tough time communicating when filing the FAFSA and at orientation.

Contact Liz Rieth with comments at ejrieth@bsu.edu or on Twitter @liz_rieth.

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