Out of State Tuition

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It’s not hard to see why Illinois students are flocking to universities outside of the state.

It costs an Illinois high school graduate about $41,000 a year to go to the University of Missouri. It costs that same Illinois student more than $30,000 to go to the University of Illinois. So a lot of Illinois students pay the extra to go to Mizzou.

But if that Illinois student spend the summer in Missouri, the cost plummets to just over $25,000

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University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said a number of Illinois students do just that. "To receive in-state tuition in the state of Missouri you need to have proof of earning at least $2,000 in taxable income. You have to stay in the state," Basi said.

So a simple summer job could cut $15,000 off the price of an education.

"It is definitely something that a lot of students take advantage of," Basi added.

And a lot of Illinois students attend the University of Missouri. University number show 5,701 Illinois students attended Mizzou last fall, or about 16 percent of the school’s total student population.

"Illinois is by far the number two state (for students), other than Missouri," Basi explained. Illinois and Texas send more students to their campus than other states. "We had 5,701 students from Illinois compared to Texas at 830."

It’s similar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

More Illinois students apply than any other state besides Wisconsin. Only Minnesota sends more out-of-state students.

The University of Iowa said 30 percent of its first year students are from Illinois.

Both Wisconsin and Iowa have similar in-state tuition costs, and similarly low bars to qualify for it.

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July 31, 2016 at 06:40AM

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Out of State Tuition

Letter to the editor: Paying back MAP grants is a road we should avoid

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While those at the top of SIU seem to be very comfortable, too many students at this university find themselves in frightening and confusing circumstances, for one reason or another. This uneasiness is exacerbated for the thousands of students who have “received” Monetary Award Program grants over the last two semesters. 

MAP grants are awarded to some the most economically vulnerable undergraduate students in Illinois. SIUC awarded MAP grants to 4,766 students over the last two semesters in amounts up to $4,968 per student.  These students live in an era of skyrocketing higher education costs and the normalization of a massive student debt regime in which young people mortgage their future with the easy credit made available to them via campus financial aid offices to cover these costs.

The ongoing budget crisis in Illinois has witnessed a new innovation in the “courses on credit complex;” the idea that students may actually be held liable for MAP grant money that they accepted as part of their financial aid if the state does not come up with the funds.

Susan Ford, provost of SIUC, gave credence to this logic when she explained a few months ago: “I think every student who receives MAP grants understands that, when the university honors that, it’s acting as a bank, dependent on whether the state funds them or not.”

In other words, what is reported to MAP recipients as grant money really may, in the end, function as a loan in which the university floats them credit to pay itself. 

This slippery rationale approached its doublespeak nadir at Illinois Tech on March 23 when its vice president of student enrollment officially offered MAP grant recipients at that institution “MAP Grant Replacement Loans.” These loans would allow students to stay in school while paying any remaining portion of their MAP grant left uncovered by the state back to the school over the next year in monthly installments with an interest rate of 6.8%. Their other options were to pay their newly inflated bursar bill in full or to leave the balance on their bursar bill and be subject to a hold on their account (and presumably also service charges and whatever other measures the institution has for dealing with outstanding balances.)

There has been no official resolution for MAP grant recipients at SIU.

In fact, Randy Dunn has encouraged the university Board of Trustees to wait until the summer to make an announcement on what the fate of MAP grant recipients may be.

While our administrators continue to receive lavish salaries and benefits, the lives of thousands of vulnerable students at SIU has been left to hang in the balance of whatever the outcome of the state’s budget impasse may be.

This is unfair.

Our administration needs to ease the minds and reaffirm the dignity of our MAP grant recipients by promising not to go after them for any missing money from the state.

My request is simple: immediately abolish the possibility of students being charged for state grants that they accepted as part of their financial aid package from a state institution.

This would involve a prompt guarantee to current MAP grant recipients that they will not be on the hook for any grant money that they accepted at SIU. Our administrators should follow other entities that receive state funding in suing the state for missing funds or resign from their positions and collect their severance packages and pensions before they make themselves complicit in a grants-are-really-loans bait and switch scheme perpetrated on our most vulnerable students.  

Again, such a possibility should be abolished at this university, even if the MAP grant money for the current academic year comes through in full.

Things are bad enough for economically disadvantaged students; let’s not allow “grants that you have to pay back” to gain institutional legitimacy under our watch.

Andrew Gillespie is a graduate student in philosophy from Alton

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July 30, 2016 at 01:42PM

Letter to the editor: Paying back MAP grants is a road we should avoid

Rock Valley College President’s View: RVC Downtown bolsters college’s offerings – Rockford Register Star

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Rockford Register Star

Rock Valley College President’s View: RVC Downtown bolsters college’s offerings
Rockford Register Star
Six years ago, we responded to a call from our community to make higher education more accessible to residents from the west side of our district. Since that time Rock Valley College has been able to provide educational opportunities at our downtown …

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July 30, 2016 at 08:11AM

Rock Valley College President’s View: RVC Downtown bolsters college’s offerings – Rockford Register Star

Why are so many professors moving out of Illinois?

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Kim Coble is among scores of professors fleeing Illinois because of the state’s precarious fiscal condition and erratic funding of higher education. After years of climbing the academic ladder, she’s decided to take a chance in California, even if it means giving up tenure and descending a rung.

“I felt that an untenured position in another state was more secure than a tenured position in Illinois,” says Coble, 45, a Chicago State University astrophysicist headed to San Francisco State University and trading a full professorship for an associate one. That’s not the only blow: She’ll pay $3,400 for a two-bedroom apartment (before a one-time $6,000 stipend), two and a half times the $1,350 a month for her three-bedroom co-op in Hyde Park.

Higher ed is in turmoil across the country as states cut support and pressure builds to slow tuition increases. But debt-ravaged Illinois is a special case. Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to chop funding by 20 percent and shift some pension obligations to schools; the stopgap budget approved in June means higher ed will get less—$1.6 billion—over 18 months than the $1.9 billion it got in the 12 months through mid-2015. Hundreds of university employees have been laid off.

More students are heading out of state, too, compounding the professorial brain drain. The exodus could take years to reverse, further threatening the long-term health of the Illinois economy.

“Nobody wants to touch Illinois with a 10-foot pole right now,” says Tanya Cofer, 42, a Northeastern Illinois University math teacher who, with her husband and colleague, Isidor Ruderfer, is leaving to join the faculty of the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick (population 15,383).

Out-of-state institutions are poaching faculty members before they even start looking. Simon Cordery, 56, thought he had capped his career in 2012 when he joined Western Illinois University in Macomb as chair of the history department. Then, he says, Iowa State University came calling with an offer to chair its history department. He took it. Two other department chairs are vanishing voluntarily from Western’s College of Arts and Sciences and a third is looking, he says.

“I hadn’t planned to go anywhere else, but the budget was such it was clear everybody was at risk,” says Cordery, a native of England who moved to Arlington Heights at age 15. His wife, Stacy, a history professor at Monmouth College, not far from Western, also is joining the Iowa State faculty in Ames this month.

Though universities now have funding through year-end, ratings for six of seven Illinois public institutions followed by Moody’s Investors Service have been downgraded to junk or barely investment grade.

BEST PEOPLE ‘PICKED OFF’

The University of Illinois is the lone exception, though hardly unfazed. Allocations from the state’s general revenue fund fell $179.4 million, or 76 percent, for the fiscal year ended in June for the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus, according to interim provost Ed Feser. The cut wiped out 20 percent of the university’s unrestricted funding. The school made up most of the shortfall with cash reserves but had to reduce its annual budget by $49 million.

“What’s happening is our best people are being picked off—one by one by one by one,” he says. In Urbana, 50 professors quit this past academic year from a tenure-track faculty of roughly 1,929, versus 23 the previous year. “We fear that will accelerate in the next academic year.”

Thomas Overbye, 55, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, is departing after the fall semester for Texas A&M University in College Station. “There are other places that are up-and-coming,” he says. “It’s nice to go to a place where you feel the state is behind you and not treating its universities as an afterthought.”
Sharon Hahs, who is retiring as president of Northeastern, says she advised trustees to delay a search for her successor until the state has a full-year budget. A number of “strong candidates” have turned down faculty job offers, she says.

Among the vacancies at the Northwest Side school is the job that Cofer held. “I feel that I was trying to get out in front of a tsunami,” she says. “What the state doesn’t quite understand—academics are free agents. We’re used to national searches.”

Brian Small, a fish physiologist at the University of Idaho, left Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, where the number of tenure-track teachers fell 15 percent in the four years that ended last fall. “Lots of phone calls asking about the budget” came his way from potential successors, he says. Jesse Trushenski, a former Southern colleague now at Idaho’s Fish and Game department, says, “The climate on campus didn’t make it hard to leave, and there was no attempt to keep me.”

In Urbana, Feser says approval of a stopgap budget after a year without any budget at all was a blow to morale. Larry Schook, systemwide vice president for research, says: “We’re losing good people, and the good people help you recruit good people. . . .They’re leaving because they think they can build a better competitive program.”

Lisa Moyer is taking a $20,000 pay cut in exiting an associate professorship in family services at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Landing at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and echoing Chicago State’s Coble, she says, “I feel it’s better to move down the ranks and have a job rather than wonder if I’ll have a job.”

Meanwhile, Robert Colombo, an associate professor of biological sciences making $72,000 a year, hopes Eastern matches an $87,000 offer from Washington State University. “I love it here,” he says. “It’s really a travesty what’s going on.” His leverage: Colombo brings about $500,000 in funding grants to Eastern. Even so, the university would be hard-pressed to give him a 20 percent raise after cutting its headcount by almost 25 percent in the past year and losing 71 percent of its state funding.

Coble says that once San Francisco State made a pitch, which included a promised fast track to tenure, she asked for a year’s leave from Chicago State, in case she felt like returning. Her request was denied. “She’s going to be hard to replace,” says Edmundo Garcia, department chair in chemistry, physics and engineering studies.

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July 30, 2016 at 07:06AM

Why are so many professors moving out of Illinois?

Discontinuing College Illinois is a foolish recommendation

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College Illinois has a future

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission takes its role as fiduciary to College Illinois plan holders seriously, and we are always interested in engaging in a thoughtful discussion of how to strengthen the plan for Illinois families.

However, we believe Joe Cahill’s recent recommendation (“The state needs to kill its prepaid tuition plan—now,” July 13) to shut down this valuable program despite positive funding trends over the last four years is misguided and would subject the program and its participants to financial uncertainty during one of the worst state budget crises in memory.

College Illinois is a long-term program that, as a qualified 529 plan, provides significant tax advantages and a unique value to families who prefer the certainty of a fixed price to prepay college tuition.

For example, many families have purchased a plan when their children were newborn and have already paid for several semesters of college by the time their children reached kindergarten.

Since the plan’s inception in 1998, more than 30,000 students have gone to college using over $800 million in plan benefits. They have used the plan not just at Illinois public institutions but at private and out-of-state institutions—even including MIT.

Perhaps most enlightening is that almost 500 families purchased College Illinois 529 prepaid tuition plan contracts in the past year despite relentlessly negative financial news about the state and many of its public higher education institutions.

It is true the plan has faced challenges because of the Great Recession, double-digit tuition inflation and, most recently, state budget turmoil. But these challenges are not insurmountable, and they do not lead us to Mr. Cahill’s conclusion. We see a strong presence and “reason why” for College Illinois in future years. For younger parents in particular, determining how much to save for college will always be a challenge. A prepaid plan takes the guesswork out.

And contrary to the implication that ending sales now will reduce the long-term liability, contract sales at current levels, while not optimal, do actually help improve the plan’s funded status. The fact is that the funded status has improved over the last four years, from 70 to 79 percent—a difference of $244 million. As with any long-term investment plan, funded status will fluctuate, but our actuarial reports indicate that continuing to grow contract sales will be a positive factor in improving the plan’s status.

Discontinuing the College Illinois program at this time will not responsibly address the funding level. Instead of working to gradually reduce the unfunded liability, stopping the plan would lock in the unfunded liability in the midst of a state budget crisis—creating more problems for the state and disappointment for plan holders.

Let’s help Illinois residents plan for the long term by ensuring the viability of College Illinois for generations of college students to come.

ERIC ZARNIKOW
Executive director,
Illinois Student Assistance Commission

Have something to get off your chest? Write us at letters@chicagobusiness.com.

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July 30, 2016 at 07:06AM

Discontinuing College Illinois is a foolish recommendation

U of Illinois chancellor brings wide-ranging experience

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URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The newly appointed leader of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has had extensive personal and professional experiences that include growing up in a segregated city, recording a song with Stevie Wonder and working with Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu.

Robert Jones, 65, was approved as the university’s next chancellor July 21, the News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2aoeh6N ) reported.

Jones, who grew up as the son of a sharecropper in Dawson, Georgia, said education changed his life. He said he and his siblings began picking cotton and peanuts at the farm at a young age and that he is fortunate his parents highly valued education.

"We knew the potential was there, given the opportunity, for him to do whatever he put his mind to do," said Mary Alice Browner, his sister. "He’s always been a go-getter."

Jones went to Fort Valley State University and later earned a master’s in crop physiology from the University of Georgia. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri, where he worked with renowned plant physiologist C.J. Nelson.

"That is where I learned how to be a research professor, under his tutelage," Jones said. "He transformed my life the same way my vocational ag professor did."

Jones was recruited by the University of Minnesota while he was still finishing his Ph.D. and joined the faculty in June 1978 to start a new program in crop physiology as an assistant professor of agronomy and plant genetics.

Jones was an established researcher when plant physiologist Fred Below joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1985.

"His papers are widely cited," Below said. "I use them in my teaching, my own research. To me, it was a sad day when he went into administration — although I’m not as sad about it now."

Jones said he wasn’t interested in administrative work until he got a call in 1986 from the president’s office, asking him to sit on a strategic planning committee.

He was later asked to be an associate vice president overseeing diversity efforts, the first of several administrative positions he held at Minnesota before leaving to become president of the University of Albany in New York three years ago. He shut down his research lab in 2010.

"Slowly, I began to realize that I received the same amount of satisfaction in making a tenure decision that transforms someone’s life, or approving a seed grant proposal that allowed a new assistant professor to rapidly move through the tenure promotion process, or working with the community to transform and address some of the real complex issues that face our society," Jones said.

Jones, who will be the university’s first African-American chancellor, is scheduled to begin his duties Oct. 3.

___

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July 30, 2016 at 04:22AM

U of Illinois chancellor brings wide-ranging experience

Rauner’s veto ‘no surprise’ to SURS bill’s backers

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SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday vetoed legislation sponsored by two area Republican legislators that would have allowed State Universities Retirement System members who return to work after receiving lump-sum retirement distributions to obtain additional health benefits without making further contributions to the retirement system.

The legislation (SB 1059) was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, and in the House by Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth. It passed the Senate, 53-0, and the House, 97-12.

Rauner said that approving the legislation would "establish an unequal benefit distribution and expose the state to unforeseen, unfunded costs to the historically underfunded State Employee Group Insurance Program."

The governor said that rather than "increasing retirement-related costs to the state," he wanted legislators to work with him on what he called comprehensive pension reform.

Rose could not be reached for immediate comment Friday, but Mitchell said he hoped to attempt an override of Rauner’s veto.

"If it was me, I would seek an override," he said, noting that the bill started in the Senate, so it would be up to Rose to start the veto override process.

Mitchell said the governor’s office opposed the bill in the spring session and notified him Friday morning of the veto.

"The veto was no surprise," he said. "I’m disappointed for my constituents but I’m not surprised that the governor vetoed it."

Mitchell said the legislation would apply to a limited number of people. Its cost was "negligible, in my opinion" to the state, he said.

Rauner’s office announced action on 50 pieces of legislation Friday, all but five of which — including SB 1059 — were signed.

"Under current law, state university employees have the option to receive a one-time, lump-sum payout from the State University Retirement System upon retirement. A retired employee who elects to accept the lump-sum payout is not eligible to participate in the state’s health care program," Rauner wrote in his veto message of SB 1059. "If a retired employee later returns to work for the state after accepting a lump-sum payout, he or she no longer contributes to the State Retirement Systems and, therefore, is ineligible to receive additional future retirement benefits."

Rauner noted that the legislation would have allowed "a retired employee who accepts a lump-sum payout and then returns to work to participate in the state’s employee health care program, even though he or she would not be required to contribute to the State’s retirement systems going forward.

"The bill would establish an unequal benefit distribution and expose the State to unforeseen, unfunded costs to the historically underfunded State Employee Group Insurance Program. Rather than increasing retirement-related costs to the State, I urge the General Assembly to work with me on comprehensive pension reform," he wrote.

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July 30, 2016 at 12:48AM

Rauner’s veto ‘no surprise’ to SURS bill’s backers