Candidate Questionnaire from March 4, 2017: Elgin Community College Trustee – Jennifer Rakow

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NAME: Jennifer Rakow


Elgin Community College Dist. 509

1.  Why are you seeking this position?

ECC has a 60+ year history of cooperation and collaboration with the community. Continued exploration & growth of opportunities that save students time & money is imperative. Commendable are efforts with local high schools like the Alliance for College Readiness, ensuring students are college ready and successful in college, and the Dual Credit program, providing the opportunity to earn credits while still in high school. Transfer agreements with 4 year schools like UIC guarantee credit transfer and lower tuition rates. Reverse transfer agreements allow students who never completed their 4 year degree to transfer credits to ECC so they can graduate and be more employable. I’d like to help encourage those discussions and achievements.

2.  What experience and background do you have which qualifies you for this position?

Born in Elgin, graduate of Larkin HS, B.A. from Boston University, mother of 2 ECC graduates, I have a strong desire to serve and give back to my community. I’m currently a United Way of Elgin board member, on the Elgin Area Leadership Academy Alumni Steering Committee, hold a leadership role in a local Bible Study Fellowship class, and serve in children’s ministry at my church. I’m a committed, dependable, and trustworthy Elgin professional who eagerly accepts new challenges and enjoys fostering new relationships in the community. I hold ECC in high esteem for its work and progress in our community and the countless opportunities it provides to enhance learning and improve lives. Serving as ECC Trustee would be an honor and privilege.

3.  What will be your greatest challenge if elected?

Down from 8.8% in 2013 to 1.9% in 2017, reduced State funding is a huge challenge for ECC. A real-estate freeze would also impact ECC’s budget. The college has done a commendable job defraying costs without compromising student success. ECC will need to continue to be resourceful and pro-active in applying for Federal Grants, like recently secured funding that assists lower income students, those in programs leading to technical jobs, as well as providing for ESL initiatives. ECC is committed to quality & affordable education for its students. I too believe that prior to discussion about a tax or tuition increase, ECC should continue to research money saving opportunities that don’t impact student programming.

Release for publication? YES

I will attend the forum? YES

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