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WINONA LAKE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The president of Grace College and Theological Seminary has announced plans to retire at the end of the current academic year after nearly 50 years in higher education. Dr. Bill Katip is the school’s sixth president and has held the role for the last eight years.

The college says Katip has led a number of major initiatives during his tenure, including a $40 million comprehensive campaign, as well as the creation of an accelerated three-year bachelor’s degree program, a four-year bachelor’s and master’s program, and a competency-based seminary program known as Deploy.

“Bill has led Grace College and Seminary with Christ-like character, professional competence and passionate service,” Daniel Renner, chair of the Grace College and Seminary Board of Trustees, said in a news release. “He is a tireless worker, a strong spiritual leader and has been highly visible and engaged with students. Always pushing to improve, innovate and elevate Grace, Dr. Katip will be deeply missed, and we couldn’t be more thankful for his faithful servant leadership.”

The Grace Board of Trustees has tapped Georgia-based CarterBaldwin Executive Search to begin the process to find Katip’s successor. The school says Katip will work with the new president “in any way that is desired” while he is on sabbatical during the 2022-23 academic year.

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Grace College has announced free tuition for certain low-income students beginning with the fall semester. The college says financial aid will be awarded to those students with a $1,500 or less “expected family contribution” as calculated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Grace College President Mark Pohl says the tuition-free offer is available for residential and commuter students.

“We have many students who fit the criteria and live locally. Hundreds of admitted students qualify, and many have already made plans to attend Grace this fall.” he said. 

Pohl says the college also has a test-optional admission policy to allow applicants to pick whether or not test scores best represent their academic ability and also provides criteria for fair admissions to all students. Learn more by clicking here

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Grace College Online has set a record for new student enrollment for the second consecutive period. Grace College says the school’s enrollment nearly doubled last week to an all-time summer enrollment high, prompting the decision to freeze online tuition, which was previously reduced by nearly 20% in May. 

Grace’s Director of Graduate and Online Admissions Kourtney Summer says the tuition freeze has proven helpful in attracting more students.

“Furthering your education as an adult often comes with many obstacles. But we are dedicated to removing as many of those obstacles as we can, and the cost is an important place to start,” Summer said.

Dean of Professional and Online Education Dr. Tim Ziebarth says several programs have recently gained traction.

“We repeatedly hear from our graduates that the convenience of our online programs coupled with the highly engaged and caring faculty make our programs ideal for virtual learners,” said Ziebarth.

The college’s next enrollment period is open for fall programs that begin Aug. 23.

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Grace College School of Business is pivoting its annual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The school says the program, which provides free tax preparation for elderly, disabled and lower-income Hoosiers filing a basic tax return, will be conducted curbside as a result of the pandemic.

VITA is an IRS-endorsed program sponsored by the William P. Gordon Institute of Enterprise Development at Grace College and the United Way of Kosciusko County. The service is provided by volunteers, including business students and professors at the college, as well as certified public accountants.

“Due to the pandemic, we were faced with a decision: Do we conduct VITA this year or not? As we weighed the options, we recognized that many individuals that rely on Grace to assist in their tax preparation — it’s just too important not to provide,” said Dr. Al Grossnickle, associate professor of business and director of the institute. “However, we want everyone involved to feel safe, so we determined that having a curbside service was the best decision for our community.”

Students in the college’s Federal Income Tax class are required to volunteer for the VITA program and are able to earn applied learning credits as a result. Student Alissa Jagger says those wishing to take advantage of the program don’t need to leave their cars.

“A Grace student will come to the car, receive all of the necessary documents, and take them inside to the tax preparers,” said Jagger. “While the taxes are being done, participants can wait in their car or run errands while their taxes are being completed.”

This year’s VITA program will take place from January 29 through the end of March in the lower level parking lot of the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center, located at 610 Wooster Road in Winona Lake.

Grace College says the program, now in its 12th year, has brought more than $2.6 million in refunds to participants since its inception.

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The 2020 class at Grace College is the second-largest in school history and leaders say the increase has led to more diversified accelerated master’s degree programs and a new partnership with Purdue University. Grace’s incoming class is 13% larger than last year and totals 1,901 students this semester. 

President Dr. Bill Katip says the college’s path forward involves new advanced degrees.

“We see it necessary to continue to invest in and diversify our accelerated master’s degree offerings. In light of the economic challenges, we are giving our graduates every advantage in the marketplace that we can. We want to develop service-oriented leaders with a high level of competence regardless of the field they pursue, from business to education, ministry to the arts and sciences,” said Katip.

Grace will start a partnership with Purdue in Spring 2021 through a consortium agreement to allow Grace students to earn online credits toward a master’s degree at Purdue. Grace Theological Seminary is also offering a new Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degree programs. 

Katip says several traditional undergraduate programs have new features this fall, including the Department of Engineering and the Exercise Science Program’s new equipment, which includes a Haas Mini-Mill, otherwise known as a computer numerical control machine. 

“In addition to these growing numbers, thriving programs, and new initiatives, we continue to hear stories of our graduates leading lives of purpose even in unfavorable circumstances,” said Katip. “These stories provide assurance that our mission matters and there is hope in our journey.” 

WINONA LAKE, Ind. (WANE) — The president of Grace College issued a direct response after a racist message was left on a campus chalk board Monday morning.

A Grace College student found the message early Monday scrawled on a chalk board. It read, “N–s don’t belong here.”

An image of the message was shared on social media, and the incident made its way to the Winona Lake Police Department and the Grace College Campus Safety Office.

In a post on the Grace College website, President Bill Katip said the incident was being investigated as a hate crime. Katip went on to say that racism would not be tolerated at the private Christian school.

“As we investigate, let me be absolutely clear: racism will not be tolerated at Grace College,” Katip wrote. “We are first and foremost a community of believers in Christ. We are one body called to edify and love one another.”

“There is NO place for hate on our campus. If you believe there is, then you do not belong on our campus,” Katip continued.

Katip said he was “angry and heartbroken” by the incident. He asked for anyone with any information on the act to contact the Grace College Campus Safety Office or the Winona Lake Police Department.

“Let me be very clear: harassment of any kind will not be tolerated – toward this student or anyone involved in this investigation,” Katip added. “Please pray for our campus, our students involved, their families, and those involved in this investigation as we committed to not ignoring this situation.”