EIU joins in effort to keep students in state for college

http://ift.tt/2hc03HLCHARLESTON, Ill. (WCCU) — 

Eastern Illinois University enrollment rates are down by five percent– and this is actually good news.

Administrators say it’s the lowest decline they’ve seen in six years.

“Illinois for a long time has been the second highest exporter of college bound students, only second to New Jersey,” Associate Vice President for Enrollment Josh Norman said. “And it’s incredible how much that has accelerated in the last few years.”

But for students like Kate Mushinski from Peoria, Illinois schools offered everything she needed.

“They academically have a really good history,” Mushinski said. “Job placement for a lot of the Illinois schools here, especially Eastern, U of I, ISU, depending on the major and with the school, is really good at producing.”

Schools across the state have lost an estimated 150,000 students to out-of-state schools over the past 14 years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Administrators are blaming the two year budget impasse and the fact that out-of-state competitors sometimes offer in-state tuition to Illinois students.

Earlier this week EIU, University of Illinois and Southern Illinois university organized a joint recruiting event in Mount Vernon to encourage high school students to stay in state. They say the event was a success with more than 170 students showing up.

“We as a public institution of higher ed need to step our game up when it comes to making sure that students know that there’s a quality education to be had here at an affordable price,” Norman said.

When students leave the state, experts say it has a ripple effect, meaning a loss of valuable employees once those students graduate and enter the workforce.

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EIU joins in effort to keep students in state for college

State universities rolling out red carpet for Illinois high-schoolers

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Several state universities are partnering on new efforts to keep talented Illinois high school seniors in the state for college — and combat declining enrollment at some campuses — most recently at a high-profile recruiting event for top students in southern Illinois.

The University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University co-sponsored the first “Salute to Illinois Scholars” on Tuesday at Mount Vernon’s Doubletree Hilton for more than 170 college-bound students from the region.

Students at the college fair connected with more than 100 admissions and academic staff from Eastern, the UI’s three campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield; and Southern’s campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville.

All three university presidents also took part in a panel discussion with students from their schools to give future applicants a first-hand perspective on college life.

The fair drew students from 34 counties south of Interstate 70 and the Metro-East area who are “college ready,” with a B average or above and qualifying ACT score, officials said.

They were encouraged to apply to each of the six participating schools, which agreed to waive their application fees for those who attended.

The hope is to stem the migration of Illinois high school students to colleges in other states and, for the UI, improve its recruiting in southern Illinois.

Illinois is second only to New Jersey in the net number of students lost to colleges in other states, with 16,000, officials said. In 2015, 45 percent of college-bound high school graduates in Illinois enrolled out of state, up from 29 percent in 2002. UI President Tim Killeen said studies show that most college graduates stay in the state where they earn their degrees.

Going out of state is the right option for some students, but in other cases, families just don’t have enough information about the opportunities at Illinois public universities, said Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and VP for academic affairs for the UI system.

The fair was designed to counter the perception that “you need to go outside because things are bad here,” she said.

Both Eastern and Southern have also seen steep enrollment declines over the past few years, blamed mostly on the state’s budget crisis. Southern’s fall enrollment is down 8.96 percent from 2016, to 14,554 students. At Eastern, enrollment dropped 5 percent to 7,030 students, though it was the smallest decline in six years.

The UI system’s enrollment grew by nearly 3 percent this year, including a 2.4 percent increase in undergraduates from Illinois, and the Urbana campus hit a new record high. But the UI Springfield’s enrollment fell.

And while 80 percent of the UI system’s students are from Illinois, the number of in-state freshmen dropped slightly at the Urbana campus, even though it admitted 400 more Illinois applicants than last year.

Killeen said the southern Illinois event is important for the UI because the region includes several counties with relatively low student enrollment at the university’s three campuses.

“Our goal is to enhance our outreach to the southern part of the state,” Wilson said.

Twelve counties south of Interstate 70, and nine more in western or northwestern Illinois, sent no freshmen to the Urbana campus this year. A sizable majority of the freshman class — more than 4,400 students — hail from Chicago or its suburbs.

Wilson said there are only two counties with no undergraduates at the UI, but “we don’t get the applications we might like.” She’s hoping to see an uptick after this year’s event in Mount Vernon, and the UI plans to repeat it next year, perhaps in a different southern Illinois city.

The UI has long hosted a similar event in Chicago every year for all three of its campuses, but wasn’t “embracing southern Illinois the way we needed to,” Wilson said.

The UI invited other schools that recruit from the region to co-sponsor the fair so they could work in partnership rather than compete, she said. At the college fair, students were able to talk to six campuses of “different sizes, different focus areas,” she said.

Killeen said he wants to strengthen connections with the state’s brightest students and its “best-in-class” universities.

State universities rolling out red carpet for Illinois high-schoolers

State universities rolling out red carpet for Illinois high-schoolers

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Several state universities are partnering on new efforts to keep talented Illinois high school seniors in the state for college — and combat declining enrollment at some campuses — most recently at a high-profile recruiting event for top students in southern Illinois.

The University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University and Southern Illinois University co-sponsored the first “Salute to Illinois Scholars” on Tuesday at Mount Vernon’s Doubletree Hilton for more than 170 college-bound students from the region.

Students at the college fair connected with more than 100 admissions and academic staff from Eastern, the UI’s three campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield; and Southern’s campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville.

All three university presidents also took part in a panel discussion with students from their schools to give future applicants a first-hand perspective on college life.

The fair drew students from 34 counties south of Interstate 70 and the Metro-East area who are “college ready,” with a B average or above and qualifying ACT score, officials said.

They were encouraged to apply to each of the six participating schools, which agreed to waive their application fees for those who attended.

The hope is to stem the migration of Illinois high school students to colleges in other states and, for the UI, improve its recruiting in southern Illinois.

Illinois is second only to New Jersey in the net number of students lost to colleges in other states, with 16,000, officials said. In 2015, 45 percent of college-bound high school graduates in Illinois enrolled out of state, up from 29 percent in 2002. UI President Tim Killeen said studies show that most college graduates stay in the state where they earn their degrees.

Going out of state is the right option for some students, but in other cases, families just don’t have enough information about the opportunities at Illinois public universities, said Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and VP for academic affairs for the UI system.

The fair was designed to counter the perception that “you need to go outside because things are bad here,” she said.

Both Eastern and Southern have also seen steep enrollment declines over the past few years, blamed mostly on the state’s budget crisis. Southern’s fall enrollment is down 8.96 percent from 2016, to 14,554 students. At Eastern, enrollment dropped 5 percent to 7,030 students, though it was the smallest decline in six years.

The UI system’s enrollment grew by nearly 3 percent this year, including a 2.4 percent increase in undergraduates from Illinois, and the Urbana campus hit a new record high. But the UI Springfield’s enrollment fell.

And while 80 percent of the UI system’s students are from Illinois, the number of in-state freshmen dropped slightly at the Urbana campus, even though it admitted 400 more Illinois applicants than last year.

Killeen said the southern Illinois event is important for the UI because the region includes several counties with relatively low student enrollment at the university’s three campuses.

“Our goal is to enhance our outreach to the southern part of the state,” Wilson said.

Twelve counties south of Interstate 70, and nine more in western or northwestern Illinois, sent no freshmen to the Urbana campus this year. A sizable majority of the freshman class — more than 4,400 students — hail from Chicago or its suburbs.

Wilson said there are only two counties with no undergraduates at the UI, but “we don’t get the applications we might like.” She’s hoping to see an uptick after this year’s event in Mount Vernon, and the UI plans to repeat it next year, perhaps in a different southern Illinois city.

The UI has long hosted a similar event in Chicago every year for all three of its campuses, but wasn’t “embracing southern Illinois the way we needed to,” Wilson said.

The UI invited other schools that recruit from the region to co-sponsor the fair so they could work in partnership rather than compete, she said. At the college fair, students were able to talk to six campuses of “different sizes, different focus areas,” she said.

Killeen said he wants to strengthen connections with the state’s brightest students and its “best-in-class” universities.

State universities rolling out red carpet for Illinois high-schoolers

College offers free-tuition ‘test drive’

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CARLINVILLE — Blackburn College is initiating a new program to welcome transfer students with free tuition.

Students can now “test-drive” the college with free tuition their first semester to see how the school provides a unique educational setting.

“We saw this as an opportunity to let transfer students experience the exceptional academic programs Blackburn College provides and how the college is focused on accessible and affordable education,” Blackburn College President John Comerford said.

“It is a great way for transfer students to find out, first-hand, how they like the college—without paying any tuition for the fall semester,” he continued.

Students must be from Illinois, meet certain requirements — including participating in the college’s work program — and meet usual admission requirements for transfer students.

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College offers free-tuition ‘test drive’

Guest view: Illinois grads, act to bolster university system

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Representing the more than 700,000 living alumni, including nearly 400,000 in the state of Illinois, more than 100 alumni from the University of Illinois System’s three universities convened at the state Capitol on May 10 to meet with legislators for University of Illinois Alumni Day at the Capitol. University System President Tim Killeen, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Barb Wilson, U of I at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert Jones, U of I at Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis, U of I at Springfield Chancellor Susan Koch and other University leaders joined alumni in their efforts to meet with members of the General Assembly.

Illinois Connection – the legislative advocacy network of the University of Illinois Alumni Association – and the University’s Office of Governmental Relations coordinate the annual event that brings alumni together to advocate on behalf of the University of Illinois.

As the state has been operating without a budget for nearly two years, the advocacy efforts and support of alumni are needed now more than ever. Higher education is essential to the state’s economic vitality, and the University of Illinois can be part of the solution to the budget crisis. The university has introduced a 5-year program, the Investment, Performance and Accountability Commitment (IPAC) proposal, to provide the university a stable level of financial support. IPAC will hold the University accountable to the state in delivering it missions of affordable education, workforce preparation, innovation and economic development. IPAC would require the university to admit a certain number of Illinois residents, while also creating the Invest in Illinoisans program to provide over $125 million per year in financial aid for Illinois residents.

The University of Illinois provides value to every citizen across the state through its educational, research and outreach programs. As the state’s leading and most comprehensive public higher education system, here are just a few ways the U of I System is providing value:

• U of I Hospital and Health Sciences System is the state’s largest public healthcare provider

• U of I Extension shares expertise and knowledge in every county in the state. More than 1.5 million residents participate in U of I Extension programs each year.

• Many of the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions originated at the University of Illinois, including the first computer-based education system, home air-conditioning systems, the first post-secondary disability support service program in the world, cancer therapeutics and the first treatment for multi-drug resistant HIV.

• More than 80,000 students enroll annually, including students from 101 of 102 counties in the state. More than 80 percent of students are Illinois residents.

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• One of the state’s largest employers, with nearly 30,000 full-time employees

• Annual state economic impact is $14 billion

Speaking to my fellow alumni and friends of the university system: Please get involved in supporting your university. Currently, our state ranks 50th in its support for higher education. Our degrees are only as good as the university’s ranking and reputation. Not only are we helping future students by supporting and advocating for our Alma Mater, but we are also helping increase the value of our degrees. Let’s all do our part to help maintain the reputation and stature of our cherished institution. 

Guest view: Illinois grads, act to bolster university system

Illinois colleges taking serious hit from state budget impasse

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Posted: May. 7, 2017 12:01 am

Our state is on a historic quest for a better economy, for a better tomorrow. Both political parties are adamant that Illinois must do more to create jobs, keep Illinoisans from fleeing the state and give our children hope that our best days are yet to come.

And yet every day, the longer the state’s budget impasse continues, the more one catalyst to that growth we all wish for pays a serious price: our college and university campuses around Illinois.

In his latest budget address, Gov. Bruce Rauner again proposed cuts to higher education. He called for a small increase in funds for the Monetary Award Program, but MAP grants haven’t been funded this year. The last two years of devastating funding cuts to MAP grants and operating funds for Illinois colleges and universities have been only an extreme example of 15 years of defunding, devaluing and dismantling this state’s once nationally ranked higher education system.

Higher education has its perception problems: charges of inefficiency, duplicative programs and administrative bloat. But try telling the leaders of many communities around the state that those concerns are worth the costs of draconian funding cuts.

In Bloomington, the local impact is enormous from three local colleges and universities: $725 million, with more than 4,500 jobs. Just south in Decatur, nearly $200 million is generated from Millikin University and Richland Community College. From Rockford to Carbondale, Quincy to Champaign, and Springfield to the Metro East, colleges and universities drive local economies and prepare our next generation of leaders and workforce. Yet the longer this budget impasse runs, the more paralyzed our system becomes — and the more the costs of this crisis grow.

It’s too easy to ignore higher education’s value and benefits, because we take them for granted. As the state has cut more than $1 billion from 2000-2015 — 36.4 percent — in higher education funding and aid for students, we fail to appreciate how much a role colleges and universities play to provide higher average salaries, better health, longer employment, more tax support for local services and much more.

As the House, Senate and governor debate approving a full-year budget or more short-term help through stopgap/lifeline solutions, higher education withers away. It’s not that our policymakers can’t recognize the need for urgent action when economic crisis rears its head. When Exelon, Sears and CME needed help, or when other businesses asked for incentives to stay and expand here, those calls were heard and addressed. Why not higher education? After all, it’s a mammoth employer: $50 billion in economic impact annually, with 800,000 students and 175,000 employees in more than 200 locations.

As the discussion at the Capitol centers on Illinois’ economic recovery and building a stronger workforce and tax base, slashing higher ed is hypocritical, counterproductive and digging our hole deeper. Students are choosing out-of-state schools or skipping college altogether. Others are deciding not to come back after going away for school. Talented faculty and staff are laid off and leaving for better opportunities elsewhere. And with each blow, the recovery takes much longer than the initial damage.

Until the trend in funding for higher education is reversed, the promise of a better Illinois is an illusion. A state without a plan is a state with a very dim future.

 

Illinois colleges taking serious hit from state budget impasse