Illinois higher education problems

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Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:42 pm ... UlFvdlEwaw

Thought this was an interesting read

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Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:05 pm

"Students are reading newspapers and watching news programs on television," said Isaak. "They look at what is happening. And so I would advise certainty in budgets and certainty in financial-aid funding."

So could it be that we have been treating all of the "symptoms" but not the real problem, a "lack of positive outlook!" ;) jc
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Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:10 pm

Online college enrollment is growing by leaps and bounds, regardless of state. Kids are recruited with the hope that they will reside on campus for four years or until they graduate. Maybe we should encourage kids to stay at home for the first two years and take all of their courses online. Then, when they have a good idea where they want to go career-wise, finish up their coursework on campus. Save's them a boatload of money for room and board during those first two years. This is outside of the box thinking for sure. If kids stay at home and go to a junior college, WIU does not see a dime of their money. This way, at least you have some tuition revenue coming in even though they are not on physically on campus.
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Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:21 am

Time to make Illinois higher education whole.

From Al Bowman, the outgoing executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

After 36 years in higher education, I am retiring as executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education on Dec. 31. I would like to think that my focus will be on my golf game, but to be honest, I will still worry about the future of higher education in the Land of Lincoln.

That’s because the current outlook is far from rosy. For 16 years, state budgets for higher education have at best held steady and at worst have been slashed. No other sector saw such financial devastation. Does that hurt the colleges and universities? Yes.

But the real pain and long-term effects come to rest on students. That includes the students — and their families — who are paying higher tuition. It includes the state of Illinois, when it increasingly loses more students to out-of-state colleges and universities. It includes the high school graduates who give up on their dreams of a college education because they think they’ll never be able to afford it. It includes the Illinois economy, because many students who leave Illinois for college never return.

Back in the good old days of higher education funding in Illinois, otherwise known as fiscal year 2002, state government provided 72 percent of operational funding for the public universities. Now it’s providing 35 percent. So where does the money come from if it’s not coming from state lawmakers? It comes from students. That’s why tuition has increased. And that leads to fewer Illinois high school graduates attending Illinois colleges and universities.

IBHE is asking the governor and lawmakers for a 16.6 percent increase in funding for higher education operations. That sounds like a huge ask. Keep in mind that such an increase would still leave higher education with less money that it had in fiscal year 2002.

Here are the facts:

• The fiscal year 2002 higher education budget was $2.4 billion. The fiscal year 2019 higher education budget was $1.9 billion. We’re asking state lawmakers for $2.2 billion next year.

• The fiscal year 2016 budget handed us a one-time, $1.2 billion cut.

• The full fiscal year 2017 budget wasn’t passed until after the fiscal year, so colleges and universities went another year with uncertainty.

• That was followed by a permanent 10 percent cut in fiscal year 2018.

• Back in fiscal 2002, for every $2 in new funding for elementary and secondary education, about $1 in new funding was provided to higher education.

• The ratio of funding or K-12 as compared to higher education has plummeted from 2.5 to 1 to a dismal 4.4 to 1.

• Deferred maintenance has grown to $6.2 billion. Basic repairs over the last 14 years have grown into critical problems.

• Out-migration of college freshmen from Illinois to out-of-state schools has increased by 73 percent since 2000.

Despite these daunting factors, public higher education in Illinois is more affordable than many people think. That’s a testament to the universities and the great programs that they offer.

Now is the time to start reinvesting in higher education.

Because it’s well past time to be reinvesting in Illinois students.

Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker and the members of the 101st Illinois General Assembly are poised to do what’s right for Illinois college students, for the colleges and universities, and the great state of Illinois. If any of them would like details, I’ll take a couple of days off of my golf game. I would have been worrying about higher education anyway.
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Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:33 pm

So I am very interested to hear what the "board" thinks of this op/ed! ;) jc
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