Editorial: Common sense needed in nursing degree debate

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If rest is the best medicine and an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then common sense needs a place at the table in discussions about whether community colleges should be able to award bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

The issue has arisen in Springfield as the nation responds to an expected shortage of registered nurses and employers who want nurses with four-year degrees. Legislators need to consider the health care needs of the state’s residents in making their eventual decision and pay less attention to university lobbyists.

As the growing baby boomer population ages, more nurses (and other medical workers) are needed to meet their health care needs. In addition, a report last year from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation found that nearly one-third of registered nurses 55 and older plan to retire within the next five years, Lee Enterprises’ Springfield bureau reported last week.

Illinois community colleges are pushing for the ability to award bachelor’s degrees in nursing. An Illinois Senate committee held a hearing on the proposal, but sponsor Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he doesn’t intend to move forward until after the General Assembly is seated in January.

In Illinois, registered nurses can work with an associate’s degree from a community college, or with a bachelor of science in nursing, master’s degree or doctorate from a four-year university or college. But, as with many jobs, society continues to give less credence to those with associate degrees compared to degrees awarded by four-year schools.

Fair? No. And if community colleges are willing to step up to expand their programs so nursing students qualify for a bachelor-level degree, they should be given the opportunity to offer them.

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Under Illinois law, registered nurses can have either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. But nationally, a bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level education required for a job as a registered nurse, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some nursing jobs require advanced classwork, some require less. The question is whether community colleges should be allowed to award a bachelor’s degree to a qualified student — and that’s where the dispute comes in.

At its core, the debate centers on money and prestige. Community colleges and state universities all benefit from state funding and tax money. They also use the success of their students and their degree programs to entice new students and to ask for more money.

Such marketing is understandable, but those in charge — and the legislators who can make the decisions — need to take a long look at this current idea before dismissing it because of “this is how it’s always been done.”

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Editorial: Common sense needed in nursing degree debate

Editorial: Common sense needed in nursing degree debate

http://ift.tt/2gJBPmj

If rest is the best medicine and an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then common sense needs a place at the table in discussions about whether community colleges should be able to award bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

The issue has arisen in Springfield as the nation responds to an expected shortage of registered nurses and employers who want nurses with four-year degrees. Legislators need to consider the health care needs of the state’s residents in making their eventual decision and pay less attention to university lobbyists.

As the growing baby boomer population ages, more nurses (and other medical workers) are needed to meet their health care needs. In addition, a report last year from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation found that nearly one-third of registered nurses 55 and older plan to retire within the next five years, Lee Enterprises’ Springfield bureau reported last week.

Illinois community colleges are pushing for the ability to award bachelor’s degrees in nursing. An Illinois Senate committee held a hearing on the proposal, but sponsor Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he doesn’t intend to move forward until after the General Assembly is seated in January.

In Illinois, registered nurses can work with an associate’s degree from a community college, or with a bachelor of science in nursing, master’s degree or doctorate from a four-year university or college. But, as with many jobs, society continues to give less credence to those with associate degrees compared to degrees awarded by four-year schools.

Fair? No. And if community colleges are willing to step up to expand their programs so nursing students qualify for a bachelor-level degree, they should be given the opportunity to offer them.

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

Under Illinois law, registered nurses can have either an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. But nationally, a bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level education required for a job as a registered nurse, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some nursing jobs require advanced classwork, some require less. The question is whether community colleges should be allowed to award a bachelor’s degree to a qualified student — and that’s where the dispute comes in.

At its core, the debate centers on money and prestige. Community colleges and state universities all benefit from state funding and tax money. They also use the success of their students and their degree programs to entice new students and to ask for more money.

Such marketing is understandable, but those in charge — and the legislators who can make the decisions — need to take a long look at this current idea before dismissing it because of “this is how it’s always been done.”

Editorial: Common sense needed in nursing degree debate

IBHE money to Eastern will go for operations

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CHARLESTON — Eastern Illinois University’s latest influx of expected stop-gap funding is intended to assist operations through the rest of the year.

Last week, it was reported that the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) is intending to funnel $17 million of the $20 million they received from the state’s stopgap funding measure in June to three state institutions including Eastern.

Eastern was appropriated to get almost $5.6 million, 33 percent of the $17 million, by the end of the year. As previously reported, the funding can only be used to pay down costs incurred this year.

The majority of the funds were allocated to Western Illinois University with $8.3 million of the pot, about 50 percent.

The IBHE determined the money would be allocated to these institutions after they had proven they were in a state of “financial emergency.”

“To be in a state of financial emergency, the university had to demonstrate that it is significantly diminishing all available resources and must satisfy any other factors determined appropriate by the Board,” according to state law.

According to board documents, the money was allocated based off of payroll and enrollment, among other factors.

When the funds will be received by Eastern is unclear as the money will be coming from the state general revenue fund, which has a backlog of bills totaling $10.6 billion.

In addition to the $5.6 million, Eastern is still expected to get the remaining $1.3 million from the state as part of the $26.2 million stopgap funding they were appropriated in the summer, Vice President for Business Affairs Paul McCann said.

Eastern also has tuition dollars coming in to help offset regular operations costs incurred. McCann said that approximately $35 million is brought in from fall semester tuition and $30 million from spring semester tuition.

McCann noted Eastern will be able to operate throughout the budgetary impasse.

“We are pleased to have received the monies from IBHE,” McCann said.

Along with other institutions in the state, Eastern has been getting piecemeal funding while the state legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner still disagree over reforms and budgeting. The state legislature has yet to pass a budget not vetoed by Rauner after over a year.

The university has remained a major advocate to budget specifically a full budget as opposed to the stopgap funding that has come in. EIU President David Glassman said in board meetings that the university simply needs “predictable funding,” even if it is through stopgap-like funding measures

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“If we knew we were going to get ‘X’ amount and it is going to come at this point, that would be much, much better than what we have now,” Glassman said. “At least then, we would know what our budget is.”

Currently, the EIU Board of Trustees has only approved a preliminary budget because of the uncertainties at the state level.

“We’re putting placeholders here because this is what we anticipate because that’s what we’ve have been led to anticipate, but you don’t know until it happens,” Glassman said. “That just has all of the universities handcuffed.”

McCann said EIU leaders remain strong advocates of full funding for Illinois public higher education but will continue to work with the stopgap funding until a complete budget is enacted. All of the state’s universities have advocated together in the past for full and predictable funding.

“We all want predictable and stable funding,” Glassman said. “That is what we want. We are trying to plan at EIU or whatever university you are at, and when you don’t know what you are working with, it is hard to strategically plan.”

As these financial challenges brought on by the state loom, Eastern has been doing ongoing work on an internal review, particularly of its future, through the Vitalization Project. The recommendations from those involved in the project are expected to be finalized soon.

Most of the reports from the workgroups involved in the project are due by Dec. 15 to the university president.

IBHE money to Eastern will go for operations

IBHE money to Eastern will go for operations

http://ift.tt/2gJ6BvJ

CHARLESTON — Eastern Illinois University’s latest influx of expected stop-gap funding is intended to assist operations through the rest of the year.

Last week, it was reported that the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) is intending to funnel $17 million of the $20 million they received from the state’s stopgap funding measure in June to three state institutions including Eastern.

Eastern was appropriated to get almost $5.6 million, 33 percent of the $17 million, by the end of the year. As previously reported, the funding can only be used to pay down costs incurred this year.

The majority of the funds were allocated to Western Illinois University with $8.3 million of the pot, about 50 percent.

The IBHE determined the money would be allocated to these institutions after they had proven they were in a state of “financial emergency.”

“To be in a state of financial emergency, the university had to demonstrate that it is significantly diminishing all available resources and must satisfy any other factors determined appropriate by the Board,” according to state law.

According to board documents, the money was allocated based off of payroll and enrollment, among other factors.

When the funds will be received by Eastern is unclear as the money will be coming from the state general revenue fund, which has a backlog of bills totaling $10.6 billion.

In addition to the $5.6 million, Eastern is still expected to get the remaining $1.3 million from the state as part of the $26.2 million stopgap funding they were appropriated in the summer, Vice President for Business Affairs Paul McCann said.

Eastern also has tuition dollars coming in to help offset regular operations costs incurred. McCann said that approximately $35 million is brought in from fall semester tuition and $30 million from spring semester tuition.

McCann noted Eastern will be able to operate throughout the budgetary impasse.

“We are pleased to have received the monies from IBHE,” McCann said.

Along with other institutions in the state, Eastern has been getting piecemeal funding while the state legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner still disagree over reforms and budgeting. The state legislature has yet to pass a budget not vetoed by Rauner after over a year.

The university has remained a major advocate to budget specifically a full budget as opposed to the stopgap funding that has come in. EIU President David Glassman said in board meetings that the university simply needs “predictable funding,” even if it is through stopgap-like funding measures

Get news headlines sent daily to your inbox

“If we knew we were going to get ‘X’ amount and it is going to come at this point, that would be much, much better than what we have now,” Glassman said. “At least then, we would know what our budget is.”

Currently, the EIU Board of Trustees has only approved a preliminary budget because of the uncertainties at the state level.

“We’re putting placeholders here because this is what we anticipate because that’s what we’ve have been led to anticipate, but you don’t know until it happens,” Glassman said. “That just has all of the universities handcuffed.”

McCann said EIU leaders remain strong advocates of full funding for Illinois public higher education but will continue to work with the stopgap funding until a complete budget is enacted. All of the state’s universities have advocated together in the past for full and predictable funding.

“We all want predictable and stable funding,” Glassman said. “That is what we want. We are trying to plan at EIU or whatever university you are at, and when you don’t know what you are working with, it is hard to strategically plan.”

As these financial challenges brought on by the state loom, Eastern has been doing ongoing work on an internal review, particularly of its future, through the Vitalization Project. The recommendations from those involved in the project are expected to be finalized soon.

Most of the reports from the workgroups involved in the project are due by Dec. 15 to the university president.

IBHE money to Eastern will go for operations

Great to have students from my alma mater Northwestern University at the Capitol fighting for MAP funding!

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Emanuel Chris Welch
@RepChrisWelch

Great to have students from my alma mater Northwestern University at the Capitol fighting for MAP funding!

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Great to have students from my alma mater Northwestern University at the Capitol fighting for MAP funding!

Student Association invites students to lobby

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DeKALB | In light of continuing MAP Grant and Budget difficulties, a second Lobby Day in Springfield has been sponsored by the Student Association.

The day of student activism lasts from 7 a.m. when the bus departs until 6 p.m. when it returns to campus.

While in Springfield, students are asked to wear business formal dress, although business causal is acceptable. Students will then lobby their local representatives to represent NIU in the state capitol.

Proper lobbying will be discussed during the bus ride and students will be given a packet of information about each legislator to speak to.

Anybody who would like to attend is required to sign up on Huskie Link here.

For more information, contact Christine Wang, Student Association Senate Speaker, at 815-753-9918 or cwang6@niu.edu.

Student Association invites students to lobby

Student Association invites students to lobby

http://ift.tt/2eXNYG1

DeKALB | In light of continuing MAP Grant and Budget difficulties, a second Lobby Day in Springfield has been sponsored by the Student Association.

The day of student activism lasts from 7 a.m. when the bus departs until 6 p.m. when it returns to campus.

While in Springfield, students are asked to wear business formal dress, although business causal is acceptable. Students will then lobby their local representatives to represent NIU in the state capitol.

Proper lobbying will be discussed during the bus ride and students will be given a packet of information about each legislator to speak to.

Anybody who would like to attend is required to sign up on Huskie Link here.

For more information, contact Christine Wang, Student Association Senate Speaker, at 815-753-9918 or cwang6@niu.edu.

Student Association invites students to lobby