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Our sorry state

Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Crain’s story by Lynne Marek entitled “Looking for solutions to a black exodus in Illinois higher education” is worth a read in its entirety. But let’s take a look at this

Tuition and fees this year at the state’s 12 four-year public universities run $15,936, on average, according to data from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, about 50 percent more than 10 years ago and about 50 percent more than the national in-state average of $10,440, according to the College Board.

That national average of $10,440 is far lower than any public university here. The lowest are Eastern Illinois University ($12,642), Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville ($13,034), Governors State University ($13,452), Chicago State University ($13,532) and Western Illinois University ($13,665).

* Back to Marek’s story

To defray costs, Pritzker proposed an increase this year in state financial aid available to college-bound students to $450 million and aims to take it to the highest level ever by 2023.

That’s a very good thing regardless of how out of line our tuition prices are.

But there’s also a real problem with the directionals and others being priced out. I mean, SIUC’s tuition is $15,774, which is $542 higher than University Of Illinois At Chicago and just $436 lower than UIUC, not to mention $5,334 higher than the national average.


  1. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    It’s great that Governor Pritzker increased funding for MAP to $450 million, but the maximum award, the most a student can get in MAP, is like $4900. In 1999, that was a pretty healthy portion of the tuition bill. Today that amount in a tiny fraction.

    Oh, and the maximum award hasn’t been increased since 1999. Students are just borrowing the difference.

  2. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    Annual maximum award. Sorry.

  3. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 12:59 pm:

    SIUe With room and board is $22,000 for my daughter next year.

  4. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    Our income is too high for need based scholarships, but we are not rolling in dough and will borrow for most of my daughters education.

    It would be nice if somebody cared about the middle class.

    I will say SIUe does provide some scholarship opportunities to help defray the cost.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:08 pm:

    === Illinois doesn’t need all these public universities.===

    Which Governor and GA will close any state university?

    Which towns? Edwardsville? Maybe DeKalb? No. Oh, Charleston?

    Governors open universities and buildings on a campus, they don’t scuttle institutions or destroy regional economic engines.

    Governors also work to help make things better, and are tasked to build and turn around things, like higher ed.

  6. - Captain Something - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:19 pm:

    What are the comparables on the other side of the ledger?

    What is the national average of instructor salaries compared to those in Illinois?

    As with most financial discussions on this blog, the analysis is literally out of balance because expenses, and the management of them, is rarely discussed. It hurts peoples’ feelings. /s

  7. - Because I said so.... - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:38 pm:

    You can’t look at tuition alone. You need to include fee’s as well. Some universities like to say they have kept tuition flat but significantly raise student fees.

  8. - Captain Obvious - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    For those moaning about high tuition I have 2 words: community college. Long term to bring down the cost of the 4 year schools perhaps the universities in other states could be studied to see why their costs are so much lower. Do those states provide more budgetary assistance to their public universities? Do those universities simply do a more efficient job of applying available resources to the task of providing a college education? What other factors are driving the cost up?

  9. - Downstate Dave - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    To the original post of the Crain’s article:

    Why would minority students want to go to a place like Macomb with their recent events?

  10. - Dog Lover - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    We should also consider how much each institution gets per student from the state. It’s out of balance, in my opinion.

  11. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    Community college’s affordability should be considered in context…look at your property tax bill.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    === look at your property tax bill.===

    So you’re already paying for it to exist.

    Still, junior college is, by all measures, cheaper than a 4-year university… since, well, you’re still paying for the junior college anyway, like K-12.

  13. - Flapdoodle - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    Captain Something @ 1:19

    Figuring out higher ed faculty and administrator salaries isn’t easy. There are quite a few variables that must be considered: type of school, field/discipline, rank, longevity, etc. A full prof in an English department may quite likely earn less than an assistant prof in the med school, for example. At one midwestern (out-of-state) school I just looked at online, the range of full prof salaries was from $47.3K to $209.3K. That school has prominent STEM departments which is where the big bucks are.

    To deal with benchmarking problems, universities identify “peer institutions” similar to themselves in terms of mission, size, scope, student body, and degrees awarded. Your question can best be answered by identifying each state school’s peer institutions and seeing how salaries and other expenses stack up. Since they’re all publics, that data will be on the net. Happy hunting.

  14. - Langhorne - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    Anyone remember “starve the beast “?

  15. - Captain Something - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Flapdoodle, and I think you’re correct in your suggested methodology.

    However, I am proposing that as is typical with anything funded by Illinois government, the costs, in this case comparative salaries and benefits, are highly likely to be unjustified when compared to peers and other relevant data.

    It would be refreshing to hear about cost containment and value, instead the constant drum that there’s not enough money in the system. This imbalance affects college students of all races and that’s why they’re opting for more value elsewhere with their education dollars.

  16. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    Maybe the solution to making things better requires very difficult decisions. The status quo is the easy way out. Not necessarily the best way out.

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==I mean, SIUC’s tuition is $15,774, which is $542 higher than University Of Illinois At Chicago and just $436 lower than UIUC==

    Last resort fallback schools are always priced higher than their value. Look at tuition for Caribbean medical schools.

  18. - Mugs - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    JS Mill, please look at the information about AIM HIGH on the websites of ISAC and each of our universities. The program was designed to aid families like yours, and it’s already helping to keep in Illinois students who might have gone elsewhere.

  19. - truthteller - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 5:08 pm:

    meed to look at the how college admin costs have skyrocketed, along with the pay and benefits of professors. Pension data tells us the th highest pensions paid are to university admin and professors often well in excess of $100,000 and college highest pensions close to or over $200,000 Completely unsustainable and often off limits to discussion as its immediately attack on cost and benefits becomes an attack on education.

  20. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 5:21 pm:

    truthteller - professors? are you kidding me? The former athletic director of UIUC is drawing a $485,000 a year pension.

  21. - Steve - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 5:55 pm:

    - filmmaker prof -

    It’s for the children. Never doubt the altruism of those working in the non-profit sector.

  22. - jibba - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 6:51 pm:

    ==highest pensions paid are to university admin and professors often well in excess of $100,000===

    Truthteller, the reason for such a high pension is the astronomical salary the person in question earned. It is too late to question the pension. Question the salary while it is being earned.

    And Steve, you need another note.

  23. - AnotherAnon - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 8:51 pm:

    Illinois school age population is shrinking with projections showing that to continue. May be time to reduce the number of public universities?

  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 8:56 pm:

    === Illinois school age population is shrinking with projections showing that to continue. May be time to reduce the number of public universities?===

    Which region and town and university do you see any governor going to… to tell them that their economic engine for the region, their school, is being closed during *their* Administration?

    We’re just as likely to see a 51st state.

  25. - jibba - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 9:53 pm:

    OW is right when he points out the realpolitik of closing universities. However, maybe that shouldn’t be the end of the conversation. Perhaps we need to look into how each university will thrive. What market will they attract and at what price point? What can they do to expand enrollment and survive in the 21st century? Only after knowing (and trying) these things can you begin to talk about which universities can survive. Maybe all. No one knows until the conversation is done, but ignoring the problem because of the politics is not good government.

  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 9:58 pm:

    - jibba -

    === Perhaps we need to look into how each university will thrive.===

    I’m always up for that discussion, an honest assessment.

    Still, I can’t see Gov. Pritzker looking to close any downstate universities, the Chicago “Democrat” billionaire isn’t scuttling any university, especially any outside Cook and the Collars. Nope.

  27. - jibba - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 10:10 pm:

    I concur…unless you can sell the campus to Amazon.

  28. - AnotherAnon - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 8:22 am:

    I think you have identified precisely why Illinois is in a downward spiral. There is no political courage to do the necessary.

  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 8:32 am:

    === I think you have identified precisely===

    … and yet it was Bruce Rauner who knew passively starving higher ed was the only way because the importance of these economic engines is not in dispute.

    If you, personally, want to close Eastern, Western, go to those towns and tell them as such.

    It’s not “courage”, it’s economics.

    Keep up.

  30. - John - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 8:50 am:

    When we look at tuition rates, we need to realize that Illinois has consistently cut funding since 2000. In that time period, per pupil funding has been cut by more than 50% (the second highest cut in the nation). While the Governor did increase funding this year, it is still 2.5% less than in FY15. In other words, Illinois has past the cost of education on to students. MAP, even with the current increase, still does not cover the actual need in the state (more students qualify for the funding than receive the grant). We need to significantly increase funding to higher education.

  31. - AnotherAnon - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 9:07 am:

    Right it’s economics of a state that can’t fund its current obligations yet continues to try to do more and more. The downward spiral will only continue. Our politicians need to step up and show some spine.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 9:12 am:

    === Right it’s economics of a state that can’t fund its current obligations yet continues to try to do more and more.===

    What do you think will happen to Charleston, Carbondale or Macomb if the universities close?

    An economic windfall?

    How about those counties and regions? Immediate prosperity unlike they’ve ever seen?

    Simple solutions are neither.

    === The downward spiral will only continue.===

    Is that you Bruce Rauner? To scuttle a university and the jobs, and those who make money off students, like the apartment landlords… friend, these small towns will be scuttled too.

    And yet, here you are…

    === Our politicians need to step up and show some spine.===

    … to tell these towns… I’m ending your existence.

    I forget. You “know”

  33. - AnotherAnon - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    What about the hundreds of counties and thousands of towns and cities and millions of people that are over taxed in order to fund underutilized assets in a state with a shrinking population?

  34. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    === What about===

    These never end well, “whattabout”, lol

    === hundreds of counties===

    Narrator: Illinois has 102 counties.

    ===millions of people that are over taxed in order to fund underutilized assets===

    How many have a four-year public university in their town or county? If you feel overtaxed, it’s not by higher ed, as higher ed has been underfunded for years and years and years,

    ===state with a shrinking population===

    So closing universities will bring more people to Illinois.

    Show your work on that one, LOL

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