Higher Education

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Bradley University slid down a spot in the US News & World Reports' ranking of best regional colleges, but it still landed in the top ten.

Illinois spent $14 million on planning for state universities' construction projects that have been mothballed.

Northern Illinois University’s Acting President says it’s time to repair the damage done by the state budget impasse.  That includes addressing employee compensation.

U.S. Navy / Creative Commons

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State University is getting a $3 million boost for its new cybersecurity program that'll start this fall. 

Democrats in the Illinois Senate say they want Republican support for a partial state spending plan.  The proposal would free up more than $800-million for human services and higher education, neither of which have been fully funded since summer 2015.  

Parkland Seeks Judgement On Professor Trustee

May 2, 2017
Rochelle Harden for Parkland Trustee / Facebook

Shortly after seating a faculty member on its board of trustees, Parkland College in Champaign has formally asked a court if that move is legal. 

Parkland College’s attorney filed a petition in Champaign County Circuit Court. It seeks a declaratory judgment on whether state law allows Parkland English professor Rochelle Harden to be a trustee at the college where she teaches.

SIU.edu

SIU Trustees are discussing what to do about the cash crunch on the Carbondale campus as they meet this week.

In their working session today, President Randy Dunn laid out the proposal he announced last week – one that includes $30 million in cuts to SIUC and borrowing from SIU Edwardsville.

Dunn says the state’s budget crisis is negatively affecting the Carbondale campus, but it also has problems of its own.

Last week, when Southern Illinois University revealed that its main campus in Carbondale needs to borrow money from its Edwardsville location, the news seemed shocking. Who knew SIU was in such dire straits? It wasn’t the kind of news any school would want to broadcast.

Budget Woes Force NEIU to Close Next Week

Mar 17, 2017

Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago is shutting down next week to save money due to the ongoing state budget impasse.

It's Spring Break for Northeastern - but the faculty and staff aren’t getting paid for it. Many students who tutor won’t work this week, either.

And even parts of the university that aren’t just for students are closed - like the rec center, library and a child care center used by parents who live nearby.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois says it will promise to reserve 85 percent of financial aid for Illinois residents if pending state funding legislation is approved.  

University President Tim Killeen called the "Invest in Illinois" measure an effort to keep Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools. The measure was introduced as an amendment to the funding legislation on Thursday.

NEIU Students Rally to Protest Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Students at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago rallied today ahead of a week-long university shutdown.

Northeastern is requiring its employees take five unpaid days off next week during Spring Break. It’s another money-saving measure in a string of budget cuts the university has made during the nearly 2-year-long state budget impasse.

Students like senior Patricia Burchfield primarily blamed Governor Bruce Rauner, saying she shouldn’t have to be protesting.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr/Creative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (AP) - Governors State University has announced it will eliminate 22 academic programs and hike tuition to cope with a lack of funding due to Illinois' budget stalemate.

Budget Impasse Could Hit Student Workers

Feb 22, 2017

About 260 Northeastern Illinois University students may be forced out of their campus jobs.

That’s because of a new rule put in place as a result of the ongoing Illinois state budget impasse - and it has implications for every public university in the state.

 

Since January First - Illinois universities haven’t been getting any state money.

To save cash - NEIU is asking its staff to take furlough days. But a new state rule put in place in December makes that process more complicated.

Eric Zarnikow is in charge of Illinois’ program to help low-income students pay college tuition, known as MAP grants. He cheered yesterday when Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed increasing MAP funding by 10 percent, saying it could accommodate 12,000 more students, or increase the size of the grants.

But one thing the proposal does not do is pay for MAP students in school today.

 

About 200 students protested in the Illinois Capitol rotunda Wednesday.  They’re part of the Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education.

The group wanted to show lawmakers the importance of funding colleges and universities, as well as MAP grants for students.  

One of the protestors was Kiasee Ray,  a freshman at Dominican University in River Forest. She says the MAP grant is the reason she's in college today.

A preliminary report on college enrollment in Illinois shows a decline at all sectors of higher education.

Public universities, community colleges and private colleges — all three categories showed a drop in enrollment, according to a report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Illinois State University and the three University of Illinois campuses showed slight upticks; all other public schools declined by an average of almost 3 percent compared to last year.   Private non-profit schools showed less of a decline, with an overall decrease of about 2 percent.

Colleges and universities are again deciding whether to front grant money to low-income students who are supposed to be receiving state aid as Illinois' budget remains uncertain.
 
A survey recently released by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission suggests some schools that covered grants in the fall aren't guaranteeing to this spring. The commission administers the grants through the Monetary Award Program.
 

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' public universities are being forced once again to plan to operate without state funding after going nearly the entire 2015-2016 school year without receiving any support amid the budget standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Legislature's Democratic leaders.

A six-month spending plan that has kept schools afloat runs out Dec. 31. There's no indication Rauner and top Democrats are close to reaching a deal on a budget for the rest of the school year.

Khürt Williams / Flickr/Creative Commons

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Alcohol will soon be on the menu at Southern Illinois University.

The school's board voted on Thursday to allow the sales of beer and wine at campus events. 

The decision to join other universities around the state that already allow alcohol sales comes as colleges are trying to find ways to increase revenues to cope with dwindling state funding. Supporters of the decision say it will increase attendance at sporting events on campus. 

Flickr Creative Commons/COD Newsroom

Community colleges in Illinois say they've cut frills, suspended travel, and even laid off teachers. Now they need state lawmakers to come through with funding.  That was the gist of a letter sent last week from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents​ to the governor and legislative leaders.

If you were a soldier in World War II, a furlough was something to look forward to. It was a sanctioned leave of absence from your normal duties, a chance to relax and go have some fun. In today's economy, the word furlough has lost some of its luster. It still connotes time off, but without pay.

Tomorrow, Jeff Brownfield, who represents university civil service employees, will appear before the General Assembly's rules committee to ask lawmakers to approve a measure allowing state schools to require employees to take as many as 15 days off without pay.

Duane Zher / Bradley University

The Princeton Review is again recognizing Bradley University as one of the best in the nation. The ranking comes in the 2017 edition of “The Best 381 Colleges.” That means Bradley is considered in the top 15 percent of 2,500 undergraduate colleges.

A survey of 143-thousand students places Bradley in Princeton Review’s annual guide. The print version goes on sale today and the e-book version is available October 11th.  

State records show that Chicago State University made millions of dollars in severance and unused vacation payments after mass layoffs due to a budget crisis.
 
The school paid $1.6 million in severance to about 50 administrators, an amount equal to salaries they would have received if they hadn't been terminated. The newspaper obtained the records via a public information request.
 

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has warned that continued uncertainty over state funding for tuition-assistance grants could jeopardize the academic success of thousands of low-income students.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law last week a stopgap budget to keep state government operating for six months. The budget provides $151 million to cover grants made to students this spring through the Monetary Award Program. It does not provide funding for grants for the upcoming school year.

University of Illinois trustees will soon vote on a budget for the next fiscal year -  without knowing how much, if any, state funding to expect, due to the ongoing budget impasse in Springfield.

Governor Bruce Rauner today approved a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that sends emergency money to public universities.

But that compromise doesn’t mean the two parties are getting along any better.

This state money is coming just as Chicago State University had said it would close its doors Friday.

The top House Republican Jim Durkin says it took Chicago State’s closing to get Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan to quit playing games.

Illinois legislative leaders are praising a short-term plan to help struggling universities during the budget impasse, though both sides are bickering about its meaning and how to move forward. 

U of I planning layoffs for fall semester

Apr 20, 2016

The University of Illinois’ Urbana campus is making plans for possible layoffs, as a result of the budget stalemate.

In a memo obtained by Illinois Public Media, Associate Provost for Human Resources Elyne Cole indicates that some jobs – including some in Civil Service --- could be cut, effective at the start of the fall semester. A university spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

AFSCME Local 3700 President Ann Zettervall says she’s seen the memo, which was sent Monday to some campus personnel, including some who are covered by union contracts. She says she’s just getting the word out to her members, who are mostly clerical employees.  

College students press for more higher ed funding

Apr 20, 2016

College student Jaclyn Smith says the state budget impasse is not only affecting her, it's affecting her unborn child.  Smith... who is six-months pregnant... has been attending Western Illinois University on low-income tuition grants the state pays for. But she says she'll have to quit school if the state doesn't start funding MAP grants again.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Bradley University's business programs are in the national spotlight. Bloomberg Businessweek listed BU’s Foster College 42nd in the nation in its annual rankings.

The university says the ranking reflects the hard work of the college’s faculty and staff as well as the career center staff.

The scores are based on metrics derived from students, employers, salaries and internships.

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