High school seniors’ unease over the lack of state funding for Illinois universities is contributing to a drop in applications at a number of campuses, and the problem appears to primarily affect schools facing the some of the toughest financial struggles.
A review of admissions data by The Associated Press found that applications for the 2016-2017 fall semester are down for at least four of the state’s 12 public university campuses — all of them smaller schools that don’t have as much money coming in from things like research grants and tuition and have smaller endowments.
Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, University of Illinois-Springfield and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville all say they had fewer applicants this year. Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale campus was among those that declined to provide numbers, but Chancellor Brad Colwell told university trustees this month to expect a drop in fall enrollment. […]
Western Michigan University, a Kalamazoo school which has two full-time recruiters focused on Chicago students, expects to enroll the largest freshman class from Illinois in recent history.
At Murray State University in southwest Kentucky, officials report that applications from some Illinois border counties are up as much as 40 percent.
Meanwhile, the governor has said he’s not too worried because universities have “other funding sources that are very, very significant.”
This is some seriously wrong-headed thinking.