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Rockford University Announces New Major And $5,000 a Year Tuition for Eligible Prospective Students in the Rockford Area

04/18/2023 2:17 pm

Eligible students can receive the Horizon Grant annually for up to four years. The Computer Science Department will now offer Cybersecurity as a major. 

Dr. Patricia Lynott, Interim President of Rockford University, speaks at a press conference April 19

Rockford, Ill. — Rockford University Interim President Patricia Lynott announced Tuesday, April 18, a new initiative to give students access to higher education and a new major to prepare them for the changing workforce.

University officials held a news conference at 10 a.m. on campus to share details. The Rockford University Horizon Grant allows eligible prospective Illinois students to attend the university for $5,000 a year. This grant will benefit new freshmen and transfer students, particularly those in the Rockford area, who want to stay close to home. The RU Horizon Grant will give eligible students an affordable, exceptional higher educational option. They will be able to achieve their academic and career goals at an affordable cost.

“We are so committed to access and affordability, and trying to find a reasonable way to get as many qualified students here as possible to take advantage of this education,” Dr. Lynott said. “The Rockford University Horizon Grant program is a huge opportunity for many students that we hope we will be able to serve.”

Those eligible for the Horizon grant must be Illinois residents, admitted to Rockford University and MAP and Pell-eligible. 

The RU Horizon Grant is removing barriers, according to RU Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Student Administrative Services Todd Fischer-Free.

“A lot of what we are doing here at the university right now is planning for the future,” he said. “What’s on the horizon? We have some incredible programs, but we also know that there’s a segment in our local area in the region and within the state where finances are a barrier to higher education.”

The university is working closely with state and federal programs to provide eligible prospective Illinois students with financial aid in the amount of $31,500 a year, or 86% of tuition, he said. That leaves $5,000 as the amount that the student and family will have to contribute toward tuition.

“We’re really being forward-looking and embracing the community feels pretty great,” Fischer-Free said. 

University officials also announced a new cybersecurity major that will be housed in the Computer Science Department. Nationally, there are about 755,000 jobs available in the cybersecurity field. 

“Introducing this new major is really about responding to a changing market,” said Rockford University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Perry. “We also recognize that we are first and foremost educators, but as we educate, we’re educating them to be part of a growing and changing world.”

“We were really excited today to make these announcements,” Dr. Lynott said. 

Learn more about the Rockford University Horizon Grant here.

Learn more about the Cybersecurity here.

More than ever, businesses and other organizations depend on effectively managing and maintaining information and protecting digital infrastructures. When you major in Computer Science with a concentration in cybersecurity at Rockford University, you’ll learn the skills necessary to keep vital information secure.

With 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings projected worldwide by 2025, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Graduating with a degree in computer science with an emphasis in cybersecurity will create significant job opportunities in a variety of industries such as healthcare, technology, financial services, government, manufacturing and more.

At Rockford University, the cybersecurity track offers you the opportunity to learn to build and maintain secure networks while benefiting from a thoughtfully crafted curriculum. With required courses in statistics, criminal justice, and business law and ethics, in addition to core courses in computer science and information technology, you will receive a well-rounded education that will set you up for success in the cybersecurity industry.


Rockford University is a private four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The university offers more than 80 majors, minors, and concentrations, including the bachelor’s degree completion program offering a B.S. in management studies and accounting studies. Through its graduate programs, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education in Urban Education, (M.Ed.). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and as a U.S. News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,250 full-and part-time students.


More photos from the press conference:

Todd Fischer-Free speaks at a Rockford University press conferenceDr. Michael Perry speaks at a Rockford University press conference