Higher Education | WGLT

Higher Education

Corey and Karrin
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Corey Ostling and Karrin Hawkins are Unit 5’s first-ever high school college and career counselors.

And after almost one full school year in their new roles, even their job titles are a work in progress.

A large crowd gathered late Wednesday afternoon in front of Western Illinois University's main administrative building on the Macomb campus.

Faculty, students, staff, and community members huddled on the steps of Sherman Hall in the cold, chanting, and waving signs with messages such as "Faculty is committed to WIU,"  "Teaching makes admin jobs possible," and "Fight for our families." The group was there for a rally in support of the 132 employees who received layoff notices on March 1.

Officials from each of Illinois' public universities traveled to the statehouse this week to tell lawmakers about their leaky roofs, outdated science labs and broken air conditioners, in hopes of getting funding to fix them. It’s part of a push toward a public works program, known in the legislature as a capital bill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has promised the state will spend billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements, and public agencies are lining up to ask for a piece of that pie.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said he's in favor of better communication with student landlords.

Dietz said he will meet next month with apartment owners concerned the university is building up to 1,200 new student beds in a pod format.

Illinois could save millions of dollars on incarceration costs if the federal ban on Pell Grants for inmates was lifted, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate students to help them pay for college.

A state lawmaker has proposed a plan to use state funds to build a new higher education center in downtown Springfield.

State Senator Andy Manar (D, Bunker Hill) introduced legislation on Wednesday that calls for $50 million to build a campus and public affairs center. The proposed building would sit within a mile of Southern Illinois University's existing medical school.

NIU students walk
NIU

Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023.

Like many people coming out of prison, Perry Cline never thought he’d get a college degree.

 

“I thought I was just going to be another bum in the streets,” he said. “So I thank God that he got something else for me. And this is just the beginning.”

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

Illinois’ new governor JB Pritzker has said he wants to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana. That move would complicate life for University leaders around Illinois and in Bloomington-Normal.

Pat Vickerman
Eric Stock / WGLT

Illinois State University is 90 percent of the way toward its $150 million fundraising goal.

Four years ago, Chris Miner decided to apply to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Then 40-years-old, Miner was encouraged to apply by a counselor at the community college he attended. He was told he was a shoo-in.

He sat down at his computer and started the application. But then Miner faced this question: Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

“I just sat there and stared at the screen for like 10 minutes,” he said. “It was like everything, every advancement I had made so far might be over with, maybe this is the end of the ride.”

Emma Shores / WGLT

Illinois State University is banding together with 130 other public institutions to collaborate on new best practices to keep students in school through graduation.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University is planning to expand the University Farm by 80 acres.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a few high school students are measuring and cutting siding.

They’re building a house in the trades class at the Capital Area Career Center in Springfield and learning construction skills, like putting on a roof or installing a window.

Shelby Landers is one of the students hammering siding on to the front of the house. The 17-year-old senior says he was happy to leave the classroom and get more hands-on experience.

WGLT

A bond rating agency said its outlook on Illinois Wesleyan University is negative and no longer stable. Enrollment grew this year at the liberal arts school in Bloomington. But, Moody's Investors Service says a legacy of falling enrollment and net tuition revenue at IWU will contribute to imbalanced operations as existing smaller class sizes cycle through the school.

Tony Sanders is the CEO of Unit 46 in Elgin — the state's second-largest school district, with almost 40,000 students. Right now, he's short at least 30 teachers. He's using retired teachers as long-term substitutes. Even though those retirees can teach only 120 days out of the 178-day school year, Sanders knows he’s got it better than superintendents in districts that don’t have a deep bench of subs.

"Yeah, if it weren't for retirees, we would really be in a jam,” Sanders says. “Luckily, a lot of retirees like to come back and still be in a classroom."

The recording of a closed door meeting held by the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees reveals board members repeatedly violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Every college campus has standards and policies to prevent sexual harassment. But time and again, repeated complaints are filed against professors for saying and doing inappropriate things -- yet they often keep their jobs. Documents and interviews from two recent cases on campuses in Illinois shed some light on the reasons why this remains a persistent issue at many schools.

Western Illinois University is considering whether to eliminate more academic programs as it continues to grapple with falling student enrollment numbers and looks to get back on solid financial footing.

What test should school teachers have to pass to earn a license in Illinois? The Illinois State Board of Education takes up that question at their meeting Wednesday.

People inside the arena
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

Illinois State University plans to replace the lower bowl seating and add ADA compliant seats, box seating locations and a suite in Redbird Arena.

Dan Brady and Ben Webb
Cindy Le / WGLT

Candidates for the 105th Illinois House District set public education funding as a top priority during a GLT debate Wednesday night at Illinois State's University Galleries.

Northern Illinois University will be the fourth research hub for the Illinois Innovation Network.

This hub will be part of a research network that spans three University of Illinois campuses, each focused on different subjects.  Gov Bruce Rauner says the state’s already budgeted $15 million for NIU’s center, and NIU President Lisa Freeman says the center will focus on issues of sustainability.  

"Environmental sustainability, water and food policy, water and food shortages," she said. 

Gov. Rauner said this could lead to significant innovation.

Eric Lichtenberger
NPR ILLINOIS 91.9 UIS

lllinois has historically ranked second in the nation when it comes to high school graduates leaving the state to go to college. But there's good news for a certain set of students who opt to stay.

JB and Juliana in studio
Cindy Le / WGLT

Democratic candidate for governor JB Pritzker unveiled his higher education plan Wednesday during a stop at Illinois State University, pledging to spend millions more on financial aid for low-income students and those considering out-of-state schools.

Al Bowman at podium
Illinois State University

Over the last 15 years Illinois has seen a 57 percent increase in number of students choosing to go out-of-state for college—enough students to fill an entire public university campus.

Dietz delivers speech from podium
Cindy Le / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz on Thursday announced new scholarships that could keep high schoolers from leaving the state, as he called on lawmakers to revamp the way they fund higher education.

ISU students walk through plaza
Cindy Le / WGLT

Illinois’ public universities have finished tallying up their student bodies for the new school year, and once again it’s a mix of winners and losers.

Illinois government wants to keep kids from leaving the state for college. Its latest effort is a website and app that allows students and their parents to compare in-state schools.

ISU students on a sidewalk
Cindy Le / WGLT

Illinois State University’s freshman class grew by 10 percent this fall as recruiters fought off out-of-state competition and uncertainty about the state budget.

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