Mission and Purpose
The Access College is grounded in Valparaiso University’s Christian mission to educate people “to lead and serve in church and society.” Our efforts are inspired by Jesus’s mission to welcome those who were not yet made welcome (Mark 9:37; Luke 19:11–32; Matt. 25:31–46); all of the parts of the body are crucial to its function (1 Cor. 12:15). The Access College is therefore an integral component of Valparaiso University’s mission and identity as a Christian institution. It is our call to light the way for others because “In thy light, we see light.”
Valpo believes in providing a quality college education to young adults from all walks of life. The Access College seeks to remove barriers to education, including the social, racial, and economic barriers that have precipitated exclusion from education. Today, the task is for Valparaiso University to actively dismantle the barriers that have long limited access to education and, at the same time, to build a bigger table to welcome those who have not yet been welcomed. This initiative uniquely positions Valpo to serve, in a meaningful way, the changing demographics within the state of Indiana and the greater midwestern region. Currently, high school graduates from Indiana enroll in colleges and universities at a rate of 59%, much lower than the national rate of 69%. After COVID the college-going rate fell to 55% in 2022. For low-income students this rate is much worse; just 35 percent of low-income high school graduates go to college. Establishing the Access College in Indiana is crucial to the region’s economy and is necessary to close this educational gap.