Tuition Freedom Day

Ten days before Valentine’s Day, Wheaton College is planning on sending a different kind of snail mail to a group close to the school’s heart. Feb. 5 is Tuition Freedom Day, a day when the school seeks to raise awareness amongst its students of the dedicated financial generosity of its alumni.
Many students do not realize that their tuition is subsidized by about $10,000 through the Wheaton Fund. For a full four years at Wheaton College, that is $40,000 of debt students do not need to worry about. This gift does not include the other  scholarships that the Wheaton Fund also supplies. As a tradition, Wheaton College seeks to involve its students in their expression of gratitude on Tuition Freedom Day.
This Feb. 5 marks Wheaton College’s 10th annual celebration of Tuition Freedom Day. In the past, Wheaton College has celebrated Tuition Freedom Day in a variety of ways, using media and notes from students posted online to thank the alumni. This year, Wheaton College will ask their students to take the time to write a handwritten thank-you note at a booth in Lower Beamer.   Program Coordinator of Annual Giving Tracey Collins explained that doing it “electronically is easier and faster, but this year we want to try to do it the old fashioned way.”
Each letter will be sent to one of the school’s alumni donors as a token of the students’ appreciation. The booth will be run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday in front of the Fireside room. Raffle prizes and music will accompany the note writing . Even President Ryken, who returned from South Korea this week,  is expected to make an appearance. All Wheaton students will get reminders of Tuition Freedom Day in the form of fortune cookies in their CPO.
This year’s Tuition Freedom Day is also the first time students from the Student Alumni Board will help facilitate the celebration. Only formed this academic year of 2014-15, SAB’s mission is to promote relations between Wheaton College’s alumni and its students.
Vice President of SAB Senior Grant Hensel beamed  when asked about the character of Wheaton College’s alumni.
“They’re awesome. I’ve met with and talked to and stayed with alumni here in Chicago, in China, in Silicon Valley and in New York.”
As a Christian school, Wheaton College’s alumni are part of the body of Christ, Hensel said. The experiences that have influenced and shaped their lives now inspire them to share the same opportunities for the next generation.
“It’s like the Bible says,” he continued. “‘One generation will commend your works to another.’ They see it as a privilege to remain involved in the life of Wheaton, and we’re certainly privileged to have them involved.”
As much as Tuition Freedom Day is an occasion to demonstrate student appreciation for Wheaton College’s alumni, the emphasis is on creating awareness amongst the student body about the importance of giving back. As a Christian institution, Wheaton College desires more for its students than mere recognition of the alumni’s generosity and the individual opportunity of education — its administration seeks to issue a higher challenge through Tuition Freedom Day.
The difference between a legacy and a gift is that a legacy is passed down with the hope that it will manifest itself in the next generation. Tuition Freedom Day spotlights the legacy of Wheaton College alumni through the Wheaton Fund as an example of love, generosity and philanthropy.

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