Butler aims at raising $250M to boost enrollment, build science center

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Butler University is aiming to raise $250 million to invest in science education, increase its enrollment beyond resident undergraduates and boost community outreach.

The private Indianapolis university has raised $171 million so far from more than 27,000 donors during its largest fundraising campaign, which runs through May. University president James Danko said the campaign will help shift the school’s educational landscape.

“We go into the future prepared for flexibility,” he said. “We’re really looking at diversifying our student population. We’re expanding beyond a heavy reliance on undergraduate residential.”

The undergraduate population has increased from nearly 4,000 in the fall of 2009 to more than 4,880 in the fall of 2018, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Danko noted that he wants the university is to enroll more nontraditional adult learners over the next 10 years. It has been trying to determine how to work with Indianapolis Public Schools to offer students dual degree credits. And the university is considering partnerships with local companies to provide education for employees, offering certificates or badges of completion, said Melissa Beckwith, vice president of strategy and innovation.

“With a different sort of learner, we need to have more flexible offerings,” Beckwith said.

“You’re going to see people in there who are 50-year-olds and working professionals,” Danko said.

Butler is also considering how to cut education costs “to make sure we’re educating people in our own backyard who might not be able to afford it,” Danko said.

He said the university also plans to build a $100 million science facility designed to foster collaboration with the community.

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