CICC Member Spotlight


Indiana by the Numbers


Jim Banks (R-IN)

  Rep. Jim Banks R-IN   Jim Banks has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017. In the 116th Congress, he serves on the Education and Labor, Veterans’ Affairs, and Armed Services Committees. Rep. Banks is a member of the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus.

Q: Why did you decide to join the Congressional Independent Colleges Caucus?
A: My district is rich in independent colleges: Grace College, Huntington University, Indiana Tech, University of St. Francis, and Trine University are all located in northeast Indiana. My family also has a strong tie to one of those schools -- I received my MBA from Grace, and my wife, Amanda, currently works for the college. The independent colleges in my district make unique and significant contributions to their communities -- economically, intellectually, culturally and spiritually. I want to work to ensure that their contributions continue.

Q: What contributions are independent colleges making in your district?
A: The many independent colleges in northeast Indiana provide quality accessible education to students from near and far, while employing hundreds of people and providing a plethora of cultural and entertainment opportunities.  From concerts and plays to lectures and debates, athletic events and much more, private schools greatly enhance the culture and community of the towns where they reside.  Independent colleges greatly benefit our local economy and culture from their involvement in our community and the skills and temperament they impart to graduates.



"Rep. Banks seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities independent colleges face, and he works to offer meaningful
solutions and ideas to them. He is also attuned to the
needs of businesses for a more skilled workforce and
champions programs that make college as affordable as
possible. I appreciate his willingness to ask questions, learn and
engage on our issues. We are proud to have Rep. Banks as an
alumnus of Grace College and our representative in Congress."

– William J. "Bill" Katip, Ph.D.
President, Grace College (IN)



Q: How do you see these schools innovating?
A: Several independent schools in my district now offer online degree programs which allow nontraditional college students to obtain the education they need to launch successful careers and provide for their families.  I personally benefited from one such program -- the MBA at Grace College.  Grace has also employed significant innovation to make higher education more affordable by offering a three-year bachelor’s degree program in any of its 70-plus majors, and a blended degree program that allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years. 



“Rep. Banks has been a loyal supportive friend to
Northeast Indiana and higher education. He is always
eager to understand our issues related to affordability,
financial aid, Pell Grant support, addressing the
skills gap, and the Higher Education Reauthorization Act…..he
makes it a point to be well informed to represent our views.”

– Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D.
President, Trine University (IN)



Q: As a Member of Congress, how do you support the opportunity for education?
A: Two major problems with education are affordability and the growing skills gap in the U.S. Like many Americans, my family and I struggled with figuring out how to pay for my college. While I was fortunate to choose a career path that led to gainful employment, many are not as lucky. Currently, 100,000 jobs in Indiana are unfilled because workers do not possess the requisite skills needed for those jobs. I recently introduced legislation that would increase flexibility in the Pell Grant program to help lower the costs of education in career fields most sought after by employers. This common-sense bill would help shrink the skills gap while providing valuable financial resources to students.



“Congressman Banks fully engages with the higher educational institutions serving his constituencies.  While a state senator
for Indiana, he served on the President’s Advisory Council for
Excellence at Huntington University.  He also made
time to be part of the Independent Colleges of Indiana
Association as a legislative representative.”

– Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D.
President, Huntington University (IN)



Q: How has your own experience attending an independent college impacted you?
A: Greatly. My MBA program at Grace College was online-based, offering me the chance to earn a living as I worked toward my degree. During my time in school, I worked in commercial construction and real estate, and served in the U.S. Navy Reserves. The skills I learned at Grace helped me in each of those endeavors and continue to serve me in the halls of Congress. My education also influenced my worldview and enhanced my faith.  For me, college is not just an educational journey but a spiritual one as well –- something that the many thousands of other independent college graduates understand as well.




“Independent Colleges of Indiana considers Jim Banks one of
our own.  As an alum (MBA) of one of our colleges, former
ICI Board member, and Indiana General Assembly representative,
and now member of the U.S. Congress and House Education
and Labor Committee, Rep. Banks has always been
an advocate for and friend to our 30 private
college and universitiy members.”

– David W. Wantz, Ed.D.
President and CEO, Independent Colleges of Indiana


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