Dietz Asks Springfield For Stable Funding, MAP Grant Increase

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With state lawmakers fresh off a major shakeup to K-12 school funding, there’s no shortage of big ideas floating around for higher education too.

Should one of the struggling public universities close? Should struggling academic majors be eliminated, or consolidated only at some campuses? Should funding be based on performance? Should boards of trustees be merged across campuses? 

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz says lawmakers shouldn’t overthink it. 

“All of these things are really tinkering around the edge,” Dietz said on GLT’s Sound Ideas. “It’s shown time after time in other states that they don’t work. What does work is stable, reliable, and appropriate funding and investment in student aid programs that will allow students to choose the institution they want to go to.”

“All of these things are really tinkering around the edge. It’s shown time after time in other states that they don’t work.”

Dietz met last week with legislative leaders, and he was scheduled to meet with Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday. He’s asking for passage of a full-year budget and an increase in Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding for lower income students. ISU’s budget and MAP funding have been held hostage in recent years due to state budget stalemates. 

K-12 school districts around Illinois are now operating under a new school funding plan approved last summer. That funding plan requires calculating the exact amount each district needs to supply adequate education, and comparing that to how much money the district can raise through reasonable property tax rates. 

Could higher education funding be next? Several ideas have been floated in recent years, and more are being introduced. State Rep. Dan Brady and Sen. Chapin Rose, both Republicans from central Illinois, introduced legislation that would overhaul the state’s higher education system. It would create a uniform admissions application for all public schools in Illinois, among other changes. But it also proposes changes that may concern university leaders, such as ranking the quality of academic departments against similar departments at other schools.

Dietz says change is needed. He recently told state lawmakers ISU receives less state funding per full-time student than any other public university in Illinois—around $3,551 per full-time equivalent student, 45 percent lower than the state average. 

ISU’s enrollment has remained relatively steady despite uncertainty over the state budget, though headcount has fallen at many other public schools. Because funding hasn’t been adjusted, that means ISU is essentially getting less per student. 

“In essence it results in us being penalized for doing a really good job,” Dietz said. 

Dietz has expressed support for a performance-based approach to funding, which would reward schools based more on number of Illinoisans served, retention and graduation rates. A small portion of state funding is already delivered in this way. 

“There has to be some incentives built in for institutions that are really meeting the state’s needs,” Dietz said. “What we have now is an artifact of the way institutions were (funded) decades ago, when they were awarded X amount of appropriations based on a political process.”

Short excerpt from GLT.

Full segment from GLT.

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Dietz Asks Springfield For Stable Funding, MAP Grant Increase

Letter: Bill would streamline governance of higher education

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To the Editor:

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, has introduced a legislative proposal for the creation of a single state board with responsibility for higher education (SB 2597). I believe it outlines a positive means toward the end of a stronger administrative structure for facilitating useful action steps to address priorities for Illinois’ higher education system. I urge members of the Illinois General Assembly to join with Rose in reviewing this proposal further.

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As a single board of higher education, leading a strategic process for development of statewide goals and recommendations for allocating state resources will be more effective.

Simply put, one board, one staff and one organizational structure streamlines the effort. Illinois higher education faces challenges concerning college costs; enrollment shifts resulting from increasing outmigration and changing needs of college students who are older, parenting and working; and establishing effective and forward-looking governance of the Illinois’ higher education system. A unified board and staff organization can better focus on these challenges by being inclusive in representing the needs of students, public community colleges and universities, private institutions of higher education and the faculty and staff serving the higher education system.

The legislation proposes a merger of boards and administrative operations of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. From my role as chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, I am convinced that collaboration of common activities is not only necessary, but also should prove more efficient.

I have requested the General Assembly Higher Education Working Group, a bipartisan group of legislators looking comprehensively at ways to improve higher education, to include the proposal on their agenda. I know this conversation will not be simple or without strong sentiments for the status quo, but I commit my attention and our agency to assist in any way we can.

Tom Cross

Oswego

Letter: Bill would streamline governance of higher education

To elites, downstate isn’t on their radar

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Jim NowlanJim Nowlan

When I was a kid politician in the 1960s, titans of commerce and industry often served on appointed boards in Illinois, especially those for higher education. No longer, it seems.

Instead, the elites of commerce, technology, industry, law, and financial services focus their influential efforts on Chicagoland. They serve through the likes of the Chicago Economic Club, the Commercial Club of Chicago, Chicago Ideas Week, World Business Chicago, the Chicago Club, and 1871 (a Chicago incubator).

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You see “Illinois” anywhere in that list?

Elites tend to focus on matters of direct concern to them, like business, family, social circles. Illinois as a state and its government aren’t on their radar screens.

The state of Illinois is basically responsible for education, higher education, transportation, social services and health care.

Yet, elites in Chicagoland send their kids to private schools or good suburban public schools, which don’t rely on state dollars.

Later, elites send their youngsters East and to other, well, elite private colleges.

As for transportation, the one-percenters mostly fly; they don’t drive state highways much. That’s why Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a breathtaking $8.5 billion program to keep city-owned O’Hare International among the best-connected airports in the world.

In contrast, the state of Illinois hasn’t since 2010 had a major infrastructure program to maintain its deteriorating but rich network of interstates and feeder highways.

And, of course, elites don’t use the state’s social services and health care programs, which care for 3 million to 4 million lesser mortals in our state.

Elites have their weekend retreat homes in Wisconsin, Michigan, sometimes Montana and Wyoming, not Illinois.

So, out of sight, out of mind, Illinois.

Downstate Illinois, in particular, is becoming a backwater. In very recent years, ADM and CAT moved their headquarters to Chicagoland from Decatur and Peoria, respectively. CAT and insurance behemoth State Farm have been slowly, maybe not so slowly, moving jobs out of Illinois.

The state capital in Springfield is sleepyville except for the few weeks each year the state Legislature is in session. Chicago lawmakers would much rather serve on the Chicago City Council than trek down to Springpatch.

I recently ended a 4-year term on the state ethics commission (yes, we have one; doesn’t have much power). We had 12 meetings each year, 11 of which were in Chicago.

Even agriculture, downstate’s mega-force, doesn’t much need Illinois, either. Farm policy is set in D.C., and it’s the national, not state, commodities and livestock trade groups that count for them.

State governorships are often seen as stepping stones to the presidency, which might make Illinois politics attractive to the ambitious rich and famous. Yet the quagmire of our present dysfunctional state government offers but a killing field for anyone so inclined to try it.

There are pockets of energy downstate. Peter Limberger, actually a German who has adopted his wife’s central Illinois, is an economic development spark plug along the Illinois-Michigan Canal corridor from Ottawa to LaSalle.

Ditto for Jason Anderson and his team in bustling Rochelle, and also for the entrepreneurial missionaries in the Schultz family of Effingham. There are others, I’m sure, but not enough.

And the University of Illinois, in out-of-the-way Urbana-Champaign, remarkably holds on somehow as one of the world’s great universities. State policymakers have no clue about and offer little support for the creative power of a great graduate research center in a world now dominated by rapid advances in technology and engineering.

Yet Illinois does matter, even if the power elites don’t realize it. Just go back to the top and review the basic functions of state government.

But as we know, Illinois is a mess right now. So, where to start?

As a broken-down former prof, I nominate our system of public higher education, which is really hurting. Students flee, universities shrivel. This, when we could be a magnet for students from other states, as we are indeed for those from China and other countries.

Yet we have too much capacity and administrative overhead in higher ed; hurting university campuses are understandably hunkered down, protecting their shrinking bases.

We need a band of powerful top elites to organize and think about what Illinois higher education must do, for the sake of their own companies, firms and futures.

Then, they need to present a plan for the future of higher education to the Legislature and governor. With their parochial interests to represent, lawmakers cannot do much without persistent pressure from powerful, respected outside forces.

Illinois does matter.

Note to readers: Jim Nowlan of Toulon can be reached at jnowlan3@gmail.com.

To elites, downstate isn’t on their radar

Dunn, BOT weigh in on SIU System future

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WSIL — There’s been a lot of debate in recent weeks about new efforts to split the SIU-C and SIU-E campuses.

Tuesday, the SIU Board of Trustees and SIU President Randy Dun released the following statement about the issue:

To begin, we acknowledge the issue that would be addressed by HB5861/HB1292 is not a new one, nor is this the first time legislation has been proposed to dissolve the SIU System and operate the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses independently under their own separate boards. 

As early as 1975, State Senator Sam Vadalabene introduced legislation that would have established a separate board of trustees for Edwardsville.  While the measure passed both houses, ultimately the Illinois Senate overrode Gov. Dan Walker’s veto of the Vadalabene bill, but the House of Representatives declined to do so.  

News coverage these last few days has also reported on more recent attempts in 2003, 2005, and 2013 to accomplish a similar outcome.  The 2013 bill, also filed by Rep. Hoffman, similarly changed the affiliation of the SIU School of Medicine (SOM) to SIUE—expanding Edwardsville’s  focus on the health sciences by joining the Schools of Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, and Nursing which are already affiliated with that campus—though the physical location of the SOM would remain in Springfield. 

With the filing of amendments to House Bills 1292-1294 (which mirrors the language in House Bills 5859-5861), these proposals are now on track in the legislative calendar to receive a hearing before the House Higher Education Committee, where they have been assigned, and to meet the April 27 House Deadline for passing bills from that chamber.

By definition, as an entity of the state under the Southern Illinois University Management Act, the ultimate decision about system dissolution will and must be a legislative one.  Admitting the different missions of SIUC and SIUE, the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses are, by any measure of organizational scope and strength, equal partners in the SIU System.  There are tangible benefits for the two institutions which derive from being part of a larger public higher education system (about which more will be said below), but in the end, the legislative calculus—and that of the citizens those legislators represent—will rest on whether or not those benefits are of a greater value and import than the perceived gains that may come by each university being independent of the system…and each other.

The SIU System Board of Trustees has not yet taken any official position on the three bills at this time.  The Board is not set to meet again in regular session until July 12—after the scheduled end of this legislative session—but it is possible Trustees could convene a special meeting for that purpose.  Any such meeting held would be a public meeting and subject to applicable requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.  Until directed otherwise by the governing body of Southern Illinois University, the position that the SIU President’s Office will take on these and any other proposals that could still emerge is “neutral”—restricted to providing data, background information, and technical expertise which may be requested by elected officials or their staffs.

Without a doubt, there are benefits that attach to being part of a system—SIU is one of about 45 public higher education systems in the nation.  It has been pointed out during debate over the previous bills to split SIU that our multi-campus system can earn better bond ratings as compared to some single-campus institutions in Illinois, due to our combined fiscal strength.  This in turn holds down interest and insurance costs on bonds.  Too, all campus funds are comingled for investment purposes to obtain the highest rate-of-return; likewise, SIU’s risk pools are comingled for purposes of insurance savings and reduced liability.

Possibly the most challenging aspect of a dissolution would be breaking out the bond debt by campus which could entail not insignificant legal and financial consulting expenses, albeit on a one-time basis.               

Finally, it’s been noted over the years that our combined political leverage is stronger as a system—representing the common interests of 66 counties of central and southern Illinois, including the Metro East area—than it would be for the Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses individually.  Nonetheless, the natural evolution of those regional interests also creates a demand for change over time, contributing to the rationale for a careful review of the legislation in front of us.        

Dissolving the SIU System would be far from easy, but it is not an impossible task.  The system is already one of the most decentralized nationally, providing shared services in the areas of Legal, Internal Audit and Ethics, Technology Transfer and Export Control, Treasury Services, Governmental Affairs, and Risk Management.  Those functions—and the people undertaking them—would need to be reassigned and absorbed by the stand-alone campuses; fortunately, system personnel working in most of these functional areas already have work locations across the various SIU sites now, preventing major disruption in most of the impacted employees’ lives.  Another positive in the eyes of many is that salary savings would be generated as there would no longer be system administrative leadership and their related staff to pay for.  Rather, it is anticipated that the respective chancellors currently in place would become the interim presidents of their campuses, until newly appointed boards for SIUC and SIUE could make a decision about permanent institutional leadership.    

The SIU Board of Trustees, as part of a major revision of the system’s strategic plan about two years ago, adopted a goal to study and incrementally expand system-wide shared services across a variety of “back office” and other non-academic service functions (e.g., Purchasing, Human Resources, IT).  Those business centralization efforts may be paused temporarily in the event HB5861 garners sufficient support to move forward this legislative session.  Additionally, an effective date of this legislation no earlier than July 1, 2019 (as opposed to the current July 1, 2018) would minimally be necessary to guarantee a smooth governance transition to the new boards as well as to ensure a careful unwinding of the combined operations to the campuses. 

When the 2003 version of the dissolution bill was being debated, Illinois’ beloved Sen. Paul Simon opined in the Springfield State Journal-Register that SIU “…is a powerful political and financial voice for the entire region.  Dividing the university will diminish that important voice.”  The question some 15 years later for all of us who love our university—students, employees, alumni, donors, community members, taxpayers, our elected representatives, and so many others—is to determine if the current governance and board structure remains the optimal one for a collective voice in Illinois and beyond.     
 

The release also included the following analysis of the bills currently being considered in Springfield:

Dunn, BOT weigh in on SIU System future

Tom Kacich | Parkland president stumping for nursing-degree bill

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Controversial legislation pitting two-year community colleges in Illinois against four-year universities is scheduled for a return trip to the Senate Higher Education Committee this week.

Tom Ramage, president of Parkland College in Champaign, will be among the chief proponents of legislation that would permit community colleges to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees in nursing.

The bill (SB 888) suffered a setback in the committee last May, although that was a different version. That measure would have restricted the initiative to 11 community colleges — among them Parkland and Lincoln Land in Springfield — and to no more than 7,000 students. The original version of the bill permitted as many as 20 community colleges to offer a four-year nursing degree.

Under this newest version, the limitations are off.

“It removes all restrictions on how many community colleges can have the program. There’s no limitation, which is interesting,” Ramage said.

And he’s fine with that.

“If I were a legislator, I would be the sponsor,” he said. “I do know there was concern among the community colleges that (11) would be severely limiting. There were more than that number who were very interested.”

Last year, the same committee voted down a different version of the bill 8-7. The two local senators on the panel, Democrat Scott Bennett of Champaign and Republican Chapin Rose of Mahomet, cancelled out each other’s vote. Bennett voted for it; Rose was opposed.

Bennett said last week that he needed to review the new proposal before making a commitment. Rose said he’s interested in the legislation and the issue but that he thinks it ought to be part of a broader plan for administering higher education in Illinois, something a bipartisan higher education working group of legislators is reviewing.

Ramage said he didn’t know what kind of a reception the bill would get this time around.

“I don’t know if it will get out of committee. But we’re working it very hard,” he said.

And he’s going to work for it doggedly, he pledged.

“As long as I’m working we’re going to have a bill every year until it gets done. Perhaps it’s this year. If not, it will be the next and the next after that,” Ramage said, “I think it’s the very formulation of a great plan for higher ed, especially community colleges and how well we can serve our communities.”

Last year, opposition to the measure came from public and private four-year universities, in particular Southern Illinois University and its president, Randy Dunn.

“If we cross this line in providing the authority for bachelor’s degrees at community colleges,” Dunn said, “we’re at a point where we will be changing statutory, operational history and the structure of how Illinois public higher education was envisioned.”

He said that 35 higher education institutions already had nursing programs and could expand their capacity to meet the perceived need.

But supporters of the four-year degree at community colleges said that students needed a more affordable option, one that was closer to their homes.

Spoerer debt

Carl Spoerer, the rural Mahomet man who sought the Democratic nomination in the 15th Congressional District last month, has terminated his campaign fund, essentially taking on a nearly $13,000 debt left over from the campaign.

Spoerer, who lost the Democratic nomination to Kevin Gaither of Charleston, reported $18,131 in contributions during the campaign, although more than two-thirds ($12,774) was from himself. He spent $15,743 in his unsuccessful campaign.

Coincidentally, the man whose job he wanted — veteran U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville — last week reported having a little more than $1 million in his campaign fund on March 31.

Shimkus, who was unopposed in the Republican primary, has reported $1.23 million in campaign contributions this election cycle. Of that sum, $1.11 million — or more than 90 percent — has come from political action committees.

Frerichs opponent

Jim Dodge, the Orland Park village trustee who is the Republican candidate for state treasurer, reported $15,353 in his campaign fund on March 31.

Dodge will oppose State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, a Champaign Democrat, in the November general election. At last count — Dec. 31, 2017 — Frerichs had more than $530,000 in his campaign fund. He’s reported another $258,000 in itemized contributions since.

Dodge raised $35,207 in the first three months of 2018 and spent $27,822 during the period. He was unopposed in the Republican primary.

So far, he has loaned his campaign almost $28,000. He hasn’t received any campaign support from the Illinois Republican Party or Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Sundays and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at kacich@news-gazette.com.

Tom Kacich | Parkland president stumping for nursing-degree bill

Taxpayer Costs Soared as Illinois Public College & University Enrollment Dropped

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A woman walks on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana, Ill. (AP Photo/David Mercer, File)

There’s no question – there’s something wrong with Illinois higher education. While enrollments trended downward, pay and pension benefits spiked upward. Soon, some Illinois colleges may have more staffers than students.

In 2016, the freshman class enrollment at Chicago State University numbered just 86 incoming students. Meanwhile, the university employed 980 staffers. Even after the ratio was exposed, the numbers haven’t sustainably improved. In 2017, just 145 freshmen enrolled at Chicago State, but the university payroll shows 660 employees costing nearly $40 million.

For the last two decades, Illinois’s public colleges and universities vastly increased the cost of their payrolls and lavished extraordinary lifetime pension payouts – but the institutions have yet to see a measurable increase in students. Quite to the contrary, enrollments decreased by nearly 8 percent over the last 17 years.

Review our OpenTheBooks.com college-by-college enrollment analysis (2000-2016), click here.


OpenTheBooks.com

Illinois Colleges and Universities with the Largest Enrollment Drops (2000-2016).

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reviewed disclosed data since the year 2000. Consider our key findings:

  • Plummeting student enrollment. In 2000, Illinois public college and university enrollment was 534,615. By 2016, enrollment had fallen to 493,378. That’s a 7.7 percent drop.
  • Massive Payroll and Pension Costs. Illinois higher-ed payroll in year 2000 was $2.8 billion. Today, current payroll costs $4.2 billion. But that doesn’t include 46,430 employees in 2000 who since retired and currently draw $1.8 billion in annual pension payments. These new retirees represent a heavy legacy cost on the underfunded system supported by tax dollars.
  • 13,300 Highly Compensated Educators Making $100,000+. Active, working educators comprise less than 9,700 of the 13,300 six-figure educators. The other 3,700 are retired, enjoying six-figure pension payouts.

Review the all-time Illinois higher education retirement pension payouts, click here.


OpenTheBooks.com

*Career Wages is the amount of compensation employees received over their entire career.
**Total Pension Contributions is the amount an employee paid into their own pension over their entire career.

This gross lack of accountability – and the decoupling of pay and pension compensation from the real work – is not a new issue for Illinois higher education. Here are three historic examples of taxpayer abuse:

  • The fourth all-time college pension went to Ron Guenther, the former athletic director at the University of Illinois. Guenther retired in 2011 after bumping his salary from $330,000 (2003) to $608,000 (2010). Last year, Guenther received a $487,287 pension payout – that’s more than $40,000 every month.
  • Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar double-dipped the Illinois General Assembly pension ($166,000 per year), the State University Retirement System pension ($83,000 per year), and, currently, is hired back ‘part-time’ by the University of Illinois for another $62,796 per year. In total? More than $311,000 per year.
  • Retired Moraine Valley Community College President Vernon Crawley’s salary bumped from $202,709 (2001) to $673,000 in his final year (2011). In his sixth year of retirement, Crawley enjoyed a $383,260 annual pension payment (2017) – that’s nearly $32,000 per month.

Illinois income taxpayers are slammed with these excessive state college and university retirements because colleges have no skin in the game. Universities don’t have to fund these pensions – employees pay in eight percent of their salary and literally leave the rest to the taxpayers. This year, there were 33 pensions that exceeded $300,000 – some of those retirees “broke-even” on their own cost-basis pension contributions after just 11 months in retirement.

The University of Illinois campuses in Chicago and Champaign-Urbana are the worst offenders for putting taxpayers on the line to fund their pricey operations despite $2.1 billion in financial assets amassed by the University of Illinois Foundation.

The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) paid its 14,282 employees more than $1 billion in compensation last year, including nine out of the top 10 most highly compensated employees in the system. The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana paid six-figure compensation to more than 2,050 employees. Brad Underwood – the University of Illinois basketball coach hired in March 2017 is the most highly compensated employee funded by taxpayers ($680,675). (Football coach Lovie Smith enjoys a six-year, $21-million contract plus $8 million in potential bonuses – but taxpayers fund just $111,571 of it annually.)

Consider these examples of recent retirees whose salary hikes ensured padded lifetime pension payouts:

  • Paula Meares had served as chancellor of UIC for six years when board members decided to replace her. In her final year as chancellor, Meares’ salary spiked from $426,272 (2014) to $475,931 (2015). In 2016, Meares made another $410,000 and received a bonus for nearly $100,000 on her way out the door. In 2017, Meares received her first pension payout for more than $250,000.
  • Before retiring as the director of UIC Center for Global Health, Timothy Erickson’s salary shot from $465,688 (2014) to $491,118 (2015). In 2016, Erickson pulled down another $476,512. In 2017, Erickson received a $214,704 pension payout – but he wasn’t ‘retired.’ Erickson continued his career as a core faculty member at Harvard and an emergency medicine physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
  • A trio of University of Illinois professors retired in 2016 after substantial end-of-career salary increases. Former psychology professor Brian Ross’s salary spiked from $245,626 (2014) to $290,605 (2016). John Colombo, former law professor, saw his paycheck increase from $248,855 (2014) to $333,446 (2015). (Dr. Colombo’s salary hike was the result of taking an interim dean position at the College of Law, read Colombo’s full background and response here.) Former Dean of Faculty and business professor Gregory Northcraft’s salary bumped from $409,623 (2014) to $435,515 (2015). In their first year of retirement, each of them received more than $193,000 in pension payouts.

Review all Illinois higher education public employee salaries, click here.


OpenTheBooks.com

Top 10 Illinois Higher Education Salaries (FY2017).

In Illinois, academic power couples can work together to game the system. The southern Illinois junior college power couple Dale Chapman ($466,840) and Linda Terrill Chapman ($223,809) combined for a $690,000 income at Lewis and Clark Community College last year. If you think they’re costly now, just imagine the ever-growing size of their pensions.

Other junior college presidents are also raking in huge paychecks: Christine Sobek at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove made $379,464; Thomas Ramage at Parkland College in Champaign made $285,130; Sylvia Jenkins at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills pulled down $271,825.

It’s not impossible to clean up the system. In 2014, we launched an oversight investigation on the College of DuPage. We exposed the president trying to procure a corrupted $20 million state construction grant and more than $100 million in hidden spending over a six-year period. Transparency worked – and there is a new day at the College of DuPage.

Holding Illinois universities accountable has proven effective. For example, after years of enrollment drops, Eastern Illinois University (EIU) faced a 14-percent budget cut resulting in at least 400 layoffs. This year, however, EIU President David Glassman told an Illinois House committee that the college expects a significantly bigger freshmen enrollment and the budget balanced.

Across the state, Illinois must use transparency and accountability to protect student tuition funds, taxpayers, and clean up their budgets. Until then, however, the student brain drain will continue. These highly paid educators aren’t attracting Illinois high school grads to their universities. On the contrary, since 2002, the percent of Illinois high school graduates choosing out-of-state colleges has skyrocketed from 29 percent to 46 percent.

High school grads are fleeing Illinois universities like they’re on fire – and they’re right. Illinois higher education is burning student and taxpayer money.

Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO and Founder of OpenTheBooks.com. Learn more: our comprehensive coverage of the 63,000 Illinois public officials earning more than $100,000 in FY2016 published at Forbes, click here.

Taxpayer Costs Soared as Illinois Public College & University Enrollment Dropped

Lawmaker proposes splitting up the SIU system

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SPRINGFIELD — After Thursday’s vote against a plan to shift more money from SIUC to SIUE, a state lawmaker with ties to Edwardsville wants to split the two campuses.

State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) has suggested the idea several times over the past couple decades, but he still feels the effort could win approval, especially in light of this week’s events.

Hoffman said he feels like SIUE doesn’t benefit much from being in the SIU system. He also feels like the two universities have different missions, and having different governing boards for each one will allow both to thrive.

Hoffman has filed similar legislation as recently as 2014.

His bills would essentially do two things: put SIU Edwardsville and the SIU School of Medicine under one umbrella and let SIU Carbondale have its own board.

It would also guarantee the two universities receive the same amount of money, not the 60-40 split it’s supposed to be currently.

Hoffman said that won’t cause SIUC to lose money.

“I would provide money to adequately fund the university systems, which would, I believe, not end up with SIU Carbondale losing money but both the universities would actually see an increase in the money,” Hoffman said.

Local lawmakers aren’t on board with the proposal.

“The timing is awful and it reeks a bit like a tantrum over what happened (Thursday),” State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) said.

Bryant also said the move would hurt SIU’s research accreditation.

State Sen. Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) and State Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie (D-Elizabethtown) want more time to research the idea, but Schimpf also said in a statement he feels the two universities are better off in the same system.

State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) worries SIUC will lose more money under the proposal, which could be devastating to the community.

News 3 also reached out to SIU system president Randy Dunn. His spokesman told us he wants to wait a few days to respond.

Lawmaker proposes splitting up the SIU system