NIU to set in-state tuition rates for out-of-staters

DeKALB – Northern Illinois University currently enrolls less than four percent of its domestic students from out-of-state and only five percent from foreign countries.

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October 22, 2017 at 04:18PM

NIU to set in-state tuition rates for out-of-staters

ISU Frustrated By Lack Of State Support

ISU Frustrated By Lack Of State Support

Illinois State University expects to save nearly $1 million a year over the next 25 years by refinancing a series of bonds.

The move was approved this week as part of a $427 million budget for ISU next year. The budget reflects a $7 million cut in state funding.

University president Larry Dietz says ISU gets far less per student than other public universities in the state, and says the school is not being treated fairly.


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October 22, 2017 at 06:51AM

ISU Frustrated By Lack Of State Support

LCCC Starting College Honors Program

Lewis and Clark Community College is joining an apparent trend in smaller universities and community colleges, by starting up an Honors program for high-achieving students that want to go the extra-mile, academically. The program allows newly enrolled and returning students to complete their first two years of their chosen four year degree, with an education just as valuable as a four-year university.

Jen Cline, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Honors College, told the Big Z they started the program with 5 students this semester. They plan on growing the number of students in the spring, and into the following fall semester.

click play for Cline’s comments

Students interested in enrolling in the program must submit a 500-word essay on “how their surroundings have helped shape their identity and sense of place.” There is a follow-up interview process after essays are submitted to be accepted. For more information on the program call 618-468-4762.


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October 22, 2017 at 12:00AM

LCCC Starting College Honors Program

Proposed Illinois university department ranking system raises eyebrows

A plan by Republican state lawmakers to revamp the Illinois higher education system has received polite responses from educators, but elements of the newly introduced legislation already are getting push-back.

“The goal here is first and foremost to get us back to a space where higher education is affordable and accessible,” state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, told Illinois News Network. “This is the beginning of a conversation, not a final product.”

Rose authored the higher education overhaul with Sen. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington.

The legislation would create a uniform admission application for all the universities, guarantee access to an Illinois public university for any high school student who maintains a “B” average, create a ranking system showing which university departments are the most successful and put in place economic-efficiency reviews for the campuses.

Concerns about the state’s higher education system were evident even before the state’s two-year budget stalemate cut funding to the system, according to a news release from the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus. Enrollment dropped by 50,000 students between the years 1991 and 2014, the release said.

During that same time period, universities and colleges expanded their offerings, and some universities switched from being commuter campuses to dormitory systems, Rose said.

“We have 12 campuses trying to be all things to all people,” he said.

But Rose acknowledges the budget stalemate was not helpful for higher education and said his legislation would provide the Illinois Board of Higher Education more teeth to coordinate higher education policies and enforce statewide priorities.

The idea for a common application likely is to gain broad support among higher education officials and the public, he said, noting that university campuses currently have individual application filing fees.

“The part of this that I can see happening fairly quickly is that common application,” Rose said.

That might not be the case for the ranking system for university departments, however.

“That’s the part that causes heartburn for higher education,” he said.

Indeed, John Jackson, a visiting political science professor at the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, said attempts to rank universities’ success have been contentious and that a vast amount of academic literature has been written about it.

“That one’s a perfectly terrible idea,” Jackson told Illinois News Network. “It’s not at all clear what are the reliable and valid ways to rank departments.”

Rose’s legislation lists an array of criteria that could be used to rank university departments, such as graduation rates, unique faculty qualifications, job placement rates, access to underserved populations and the relative value of a degree based on earnings potential.

The state senator also has criticized priorities and planning within the system of higher education. One project that Rose mentions frequently is an $82.5 million proposal to build a science, technology, engineering and math building at the University of Illinois at Springfield when there’s already a world-class engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the same time, other university campuses have been waiting to upgrade their outdated science buildings, he said.

“This [legislation] gives teeth to the Board of Higher Education to become the traffic cop and forces them to go through some thoughtful analysis” about expanding programs, Rose said.

But Jackson said examples of duplication of resources within the university system are way overhyped. University campuses each need a core of general education offerings to attract students, he said.

“Otherwise, you’re a college or a trade school,” Jackson said.

He also questioned what would happen if a ranking system showed that an English department at one campus was not up to par. Would that university then not have a right to an English department, Jackson asks.

The state Board of Higher Education now is empowered to have a master plan in place and set priorities for higher education on a statewide basis, he said.

“Things are not nearly as out of whack as critics of higher education indicate,” Jackson said.

But state lawmakers have every right to examine such issues and speak to the IBHE about the future direction of higher education in the state, according to Jackson, who said the legislation’s stated goals of providing increased access to higher education and reducing bureaucracy were positive.

“On the face of it, it looks reasonable and fairly harmless in terms of trying to get people to the place where they would be most successful,” he said.

Others in the education field also seem receptive to discussing the ideas presented in the legislation.

“We’re in the process of reviewing their proposal and will work with them during the upcoming legislative session,” Thomas Hardy, spokesman for the University of Illinois System, told Illinois News Network.

Meanwhile, Rose signaled he wants to take a comprehensive look at how administrators are running individual campuses.

“These guys are all trying to build fiefdoms,” he said. “We’ve had 30 years of free-for-all and mission creep … build, build, build.”

Proposed Illinois university department ranking system raises eyebrows

ISU Trustees To Vote On Budget, Major Project Requests

Illinois State’s Board of Trustees will decide Friday how much money to ask for from Springfield in next year’s budget, even as the university becomes less and less reliant on state funding.

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October 19, 2017 at 04:18PM

ISU Trustees To Vote On Budget, Major Project Requests

University of Illinois System to be Major Part of Illinois Innovation Network

University of Illinois System to be Major Part of Illinois Innovation Network

The University of Illinois system… including the Springfield campus… will be a major partner in a new $1.2 billion economic development effort.

Governor Bruce Rauner says the Illinois Innovation Network will seek to use research faculty, students, and both public and private sector resources to find marketable solutions in areas ranging from technology to agriculture to health.

One of the goals is to keep the best and brightest students in Illinois… instead of seeing them go to other states.

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October 19, 2017 at 01:44PM

University of Illinois System to be Major Part of Illinois Innovation Network

NIU Board of Trustees approves 3 percent raise for some employees

DeKALB – A three percent salary increase for eligible Northern Illinois University employees was approved Thursday without opposition during a special Board of Trustees meeting.

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October 19, 2017 at 12:27PM

NIU Board of Trustees approves 3 percent raise for some employees