Millikin awarded GEER II Grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education

The award will be used to provide academic and social-emotional learning support for students most impacted by COVID-19

Millikin University

DECATUR -- Millikin University was recently awarded a $124,285 grant from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) II program.

These funds will be used to provide academic and social-emotional learning support for students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Black, Latino, low-income, first-generation, working adult and rural students.

Grants to public institutions were allocated using a formula to ensure equitable distribution, and grants were awarded to non-public institutions, like Millikin, through a competitive application process.

IBHE logo

Millikin intends to use the grant funds to expand its Excellence Developed Through Growth & Experience (EDGE) Program. First-year students selected to be part of the EDGE Program move to campus early, prior to New Student Welcome Week in early August, and receive a unique opportunity to get a jump-start on their year by learning about the academic demands of college, connecting with faculty and building a strong support system.

The expanded program, EDGE Plus, will be a new five-week summer bridge experience to serve 30 low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students to foster their academic success, despite challenges that have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“I have always wanted to extend the EDGE program that currently starts a few weeks before school every fall. We have great success in the current program, but I am excited to see how much growth and success students can learn before school starts with a five-week course,” Millikin Dean of Academic Support Services Carrie Pierson said. “This grant will allow us to provide much more college prep for first-year students to help ensure they are off to a fantastic start to their college careers.”

EDGE Plus students will take courses taught by full-time, tenure-track Millikin faculty in areas critical to college success, including writing, reading, research, math, ethical reasoning, scientific methods and life skills. Additional program activities will include the following:

  • Meet with key support services and academic advisors
  • Engage in training on college success skills, including time management, study skills, resources identification and social support systems
  • Forge connections with faculty and undergraduate mentors
  • Take vocational and strengths assessments
  • Create relationships with mental and behavioral health staff
  • Engage in financial coaching
  • Be placed in campus employment
  • Take part in service learning
  • Learn about the Decatur community and its social service organizations.

Since receiving confirmation of the grant, Millikin’s Center for Academic and Professional Performance (CAPP) has been hard at work with the admissions team to qualify Millikin-admitted students for the expanded five-week bridge program that will begin directly after the Summer Orientation dates in June.

About Millikin University

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features Performance Learning, a unique learning approach offered only at Millikin that gives students the chance to build the confidence and skills to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin graduates enter the job market armed with experience and ready for success. In 2022, 99% of graduates gained employment or entry to graduate or professional schools within six months of graduation, compared to the 71% national average. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill.

For further media information, please contact Millikin University Public Relations Coordinator Matthew Flaten at 217.420.6636 or