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High hopes for higher ed in bill package

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

[This post has been bumped up to Wednesday from Tuesday night for visibility purposes.]

By Hannah Meisel

* The higher education working group did a quick presser this afternoon to unveil their package of six bills that colleges and universities have been asking for, especially as they have been hammered over the last few years of a budget impasse combined with the brain drain they were already facing. Some institutions responded by freezing tuition, raising tuition, or increasing non-domestic recruitment. All solutions come with their own baggage.

From a Sunday story about SIU…

Adjusted for inflation, the cost of SIU Carbondale’s tuition and fees has increased about 150 percent for Illinois residents in the last two decades.

We’ll come back to that story, but back to today’s news.

Two big ones in the package are the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program (SB2927) and HB5020, which would stop the practice of making MAP grants kind of a “one and done” deal.

AIM HIGH is a $25 million ask for a new merit-based scholarship. Conditions for the scholarship would include Illinois citizenship and meeting a benchmark GPA and test scores. Lawmakers said they were crossing their fingers that it could be included in a final budget this week, but seemed like they wouldn’t be losing any sleep if it waited til the fall. It’s meant to bring in two types of students missing from Illinois campuses: those who go elsewhere and those who go nowhere.

“Several of our public university presidents told us that their biggest competitor is nowhere,” Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) told reporters. “These are students who gain admission to Illinois public universities but come fall they don’t matriculate to the public university to which they gained acceptance, nor to a community college. They don’t go to any two- or four-year institution.”

Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said HB5020 is exactly what admissions officers have been asking for. MAP grants are currently administered on a one-year basis and students who received a MAP grant one year is never guaranteed one the next year. HB5020 would give MAP grantees priority the following year, for four years.

“These out-of-state schools come in and offer four-year awards and then [in-state schools] are stuck back pedaling, ‘Well, you might get MAP, you might not and it’s only good for a year, yada yada yada,’” Rose said.

* One other notable bill in the package would “greatly” expand debt limits at the state’s public universities in order for them to address deferred maintenance. Some universities desperately need this. Always striking to see a brand new building next to a dilapidated one.

Back to the SIU story

When it comes to increased reliance on tuition, SIUC is not alone: A 2018 study by the State Higher Education Executive Officers found that tuition, rather than state and local dollars, has become the primary revenue source for public colleges and universities in most states across the nation.

John Jackson, now a visiting lecturer with SIUC’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, watched the university increasingly turn to tuition as the state’s funding retracted or barely grew over the course of his four-decade career as an administrator and teacher at the institution. […]

Jackson, who has been writing and editing a book about the last fifty years of SIUC’s history, said he considers rising tuition the number-one cause of the university’s precipitous enrollment decline. […]

“Yes, there is evidence that cutting state appropriations raises tuition. There is also evidence that higher tuition actually leads to lower state appropriations. … It’s a very complicated nest of factors and publicity that really cause these tuition changes,” [Jennifer Delaney, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign] said.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Hannah Meisel        

13 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 6:19 pm:

    ===“These out-of-state schools come in and offer four-year awards and then [in-state schools] are stuck back pedaling, ‘Well, you might get MAP, you might not and it’s only good for a year, yada yada yada,’” Rose said.===

    Even though Mr. Rose during the Rauner years continually voted to starve higher education, for *reforms*…

    This is the biggest, by far, way to keep Illinois’ best and brightest here, and at state universities.

    “You can come here, and we pay for your education, and then some, or go back to Illinois, with your GPA, your ACT/SAT score and hope to get something, and we both know there’s no merit scholarships for you in Illinois.

    Would you like to go see the bookstore, get a sweatshirt while we file your electronic merit scholarship… or…”

    The Raunerites voted to starve higher education.

    These bills make should go a long way to help the decade it will take to save them.


  2. - Jones - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 6:25 pm:

    My three children that went to four year schools all went out of state. Better schools better deals. Two of them turned down my Alma Mater U of I. Just not the school it used to be.


  3. - Mama - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 6:26 pm:

    Rauner’s plans to privatize public education is hurting Illinois’s schools, colleges & universities & businesses.


  4. - illini - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 7:04 pm:

    These are hardly solutions to the long term problems that have become magnified during the Rauner years, but is is a welcome beginning. I’ll wait to see the final passage and the Governors signature.

    As to the debt limits being raised to permit bonding for long overdue new construction I have doubts if that is more than window dressing. A few years ago I came into a modest amount of money that I could invest. I inquired with my EDJones advisor and found that they do not offer any Higher Ed bonds for any Illinois public universities, including my Alma Mater. Ratings were barely above “junk” and they would not touch them. Have things changed or will they change?


  5. - PublicServant - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 7:12 pm:

    I don’t disagree with you Willy, but higher education in Illinois has been suffering death by a thousand state funding cuts for decades, and then Rauner came and slit their collective throats with his budget vetos and zeroing out their appropriations totally.

    In addition, the general concensus that the universities are top heavy with a bloated administrative layer gave legislators a convenient excuse to continue to cut state funding over and over. Whether the premise was right or wrong, it certainly provide a convenient whipping boy for the budget cutters.

    Now, we see the result, and people are shocked, shocked I tell you, that Illinois universities are having trouble competing with other state universities, and were hemorrhaging students?

    You reap what you sow.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 7:18 pm:

    With respect, - PublicServant -

    ===In addition, the general concensus that the universities are top heavy with a bloated administrative layer gave legislators a convenient excuse to continue to cut state funding over and over.===

    That was Blago, first, to decide that path, purposely.

    And while I say to you, as I say to others stating all you did state…

    You’re not wrong, but your thinking aids and abets Rauner, abd Rauner loves to hear/read that, as he (Administratively or budget-wise) uses that thinking to justify his own crushing of illinois’ higher ed, because… “he can”

    I’m willing to discuss things like a Lincoln University system, pods, saving these regions, I’m not one to say “money is the lone answer” but I do know anyone that funds something at a level of zero… they want it eliminated.

    With respect, as always.


  7. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 8:05 pm:

    Illini, you’re pretty close to my wheelhouse here, and I hate to say it but I think you got some bad information from Edward Jones. The U of I Aux Facilities are a $1.5 billion enterprise with a decent balance sheet and a most recent A rating from S&P. That’s down a couple notches because they couple the ratings to the State’s to some extent. ISU is about the same but a smaller enterprise; last rating A-. Lowest rating I’m aware of is SIU with BB, again after several recent downgrades.

    I have and would again put my money in U of I debt and sleep well at night. Would expect demand to be good for new UI bonds if ceiling lifted.


  8. - illini - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 8:37 pm:

    @ArthurAndersen - Thank you for your response.

    This was at least 2 years ago when I inquired and I may have overstated the fact that these were close to the “junk” status I referenced. All I know is that at that time these bonds were below the minimum that Jones could offer its clients. I hope things have changed by now. I’ll check tomorrow.

    But then, I lost everything on Lehman Bros bonds that I got through Jones as well


  9. - cannon649 - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 10:10 pm:

    “the cost of SIU Carbondale’s tuition and fees has increased about 150 percent for Illinois residents in the last two decades”

    I realize all the haters look at the Rauner years as the issue. This started more than 20 years for various reasons So now you have schools with better expense models, different business objectives and the Illinois student forced to look at value for his education dollar. There is a lot of blame to go around - but at some point the price/value takes over.

    I am not sure educators understand this.

    Hannah - good reporting


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, May 29, 18 @ 10:45 pm:

    ===I realize all the haters look at the Rauner years as the issue===

    Since the 1850s, no governor funded higher education in Illinois at a level of zero for entire fiscal yearS… only Bruce Rauner.

    But, it’s not Rauner…


  11. - anon123 - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 9:37 am:

    Have one child who went to Murray State gpa/act score scholarship. At the time decision made he had a full tuition sholarship to SIUC. Made the choice for Murray because school funding more stable.


  12. - Southern Illinois Hoopdee - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    Willy,

    It isn’t like Dems we’re doing great at funding SIU. We get Rauner was/is worse. That said, the Carbondale campus has been run horribly for the last ten years going back to the Poshard era. The administrative culture there is poisonous. A new BOT is needed to flush out the administrative failures there.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 18 @ 10:55 am:

    ===That said, the Carbondale campus has been run horribly for the last ten years going back to the Poshard era. The administrative culture there is poisonous. A new BOT is needed to flush out the administrative failures there.===

    With respect,

    Again, I’m not of the ilk that believes the monetary aspect will change things solely for the better. I’ve written, often at length, the necessary things to keep higher education and strengthen higher education. All that, every bit of it, stands alone.

    When someone funds anything in a budget at a level of zero, they want it eliminated. That’s another discussion.

    With respect,

    OW


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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