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Higher Education

Staff / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said he is really disappointed lawmakers have failed to approve a budget for the second consecutive year. The spring session of the General Assembly ended Tuesday night without any viable spending plan. Dietz said this has been bad news for eleven months.

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Many businesses are figuring out how much new federal rules on overtime pay will cost them starting in December. The effect on Illinois State University could be in the two million dollar range.

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

The Illinois House approved a proposal to fully fund tuition grants for low-income students amid Republican objections the bill is a false promise.  

The plan sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan appropriates about $397 million to colleges and universities for the grants under the Monetary Assistance Program.  The House passed the bill Tuesday on a 68-45 vote. The Senate must still consider it.  

Illinois State Capitol exterior
Justin Brocke / Flickr

Yet again, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor Bruce Rauner are at odds.  This time, over a constitutional amendment introduced by the Speaker.

Illinois State University

ISU Trustees will consider a three percent tuition hike for incoming students. Fees would also rise by three percent. Room and board would go up one percent.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse.

Staff / WGLT

Former Bloomington High and Eastern Illinois football standout Adrian Arrington is among a growing number of players complaining about symptoms that may be concussion-related. In fact, Arrington initiated a still-pending class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, alleging the governing body doesn't do enough to protect student-athletes.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Non Tenure Track professors at ISU are showing solidarity with their counterparts at other budget strapped campuses with a demonstration on the quad.

Jacob DeGeal

The Head of the McLean County Board says work still needs to be done to adjust to same day voter registration. Students at Illinois State University had wait times of up to three hours on primary Election Day last month. Some left discouraged without voting.

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As some colleges and universities head toward a fiscal cliff, lawmakers are talking about ways to keep them afloat. 

One plan would only fund five schools.   Representative Rita Mayfield, a Waukegan Democrat, says money would go to Chicago State, Western Illinois University, Eastern, Northeastern and Southern.  She says those are the ones most at risk of shutting down. 

"This funding will provide emergency funding just to keep their doors open until hopefully we can get a budget over the summer," Morefield said.

Illinois State University

In a year with no state budget and no prospect of a budget for next year, Illinois State University is taking its best guess at planning for the future.

SIU Goes Deep With New Rolling Radar

Mar 14, 2016
ditchwitchf / Flickr via Creative Commons

Southern Illinois University's Center for Archaeological Investigations has a new piece of equipment that can help give a picture of what's below the surface.

Central Illinois Republicans Urge House Return

Mar 11, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

Governor Bruce Rauner wasn't at a press conference in the Normal town hall today, but his words were.

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SIU President Randy Dunn says cuts in state funding could be the end of the institution as it currently exists. In testimony before a Senate Committee Thursday morning, Dunn says people in the region know SIU is in trouble, and area residents want stability.

Rauner Defends Higher Ed Funding Strategy

Feb 23, 2016
Cass Herrington / IPR

Governor Bruce Rauner visited a vocational school in Peoria Tuesday to tout his plans to improve Illinois schools.

Rauner’s ideas include funneling more state money to public schools and eliminating unfunded state mandates. Rauner was speaking in a school district where the majority of students are low income.

Meagan Davis / Flickr

Low-income college students promised state help paying for tuition will continue to go without it.

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed Democratic-backed legislation to pay for so-called "MAP grants." The measure also funded community colleges. Students have traveled to Springfield in recent days to rally in support of the plan.

ISU Trustees Mark Anniversary

Feb 19, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

As the Illinois State University Board of Trustees meets and marks it's 20th anniversary, members of the board were thinking of the situation in Springfield. Board Chair Rocky Donahue says during the on-going budget stalemate, when every expenditure is being questioned, ISU is doing it's part.

Illinois Lawmakers / Illinois Public Media

Governor Bruce Rauner's budget speech largely avoided specifics about state spending. Instead, he's still arguing Illinois should be more favorable to business. 

Rauner took pains to portray himself as open to working with majority Democrats -- he used the word "compromise" five times.

IWU Sends Team to National Ethics Competition

Feb 17, 2016
Jim Kuhn / Flickr via Creative Commons

This weekend a group of Illinois Wesleyan University Students is headed for a national ethics competition in Virginia. Wesleyan earned a slot in the competition by virtue of a 3rd place finish in the Central States Regionals. Coach Emily Kelahan says along with learning to defend their own positions on ethical issues, the students also try to understand the other view.

MAP Grant Proponents Seek State Funding

Feb 12, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

The state of Illinois has not spent a penny since June to fund the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants many students rely on. Kayra Ester is a student at Heartland Community College, where she told the audience she's also an employee at Heartland.

Sandberg Auditorium For Sale

Feb 4, 2016
Loco Steve / Flickr via Creative Commons

An auditorium with $3 million in renovations is for sale for $100. The Carthage City Council has approved buying the structure from Carl Sandberg College in Galesburg. The college board will vote on the matter this month. The school received the Charger Auditorium in 2008 as a donation from Pairieland Investment Group. It wanted to create a multi-building partnership that fizzled in large part because of the recession. Sandburg president Lori Sundberg says after $3 million in renovations, the school spends up to $35,000 a year to maintain it.

Steve Pettaway / US Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will appear at a public event next month at the University of Illinois in Champaign. The university's College of Law says she will conduct a wide-ranging hour-long discussion with Professor Robin B. Kar. The March 7 event is free, but tickets are required. Sotomayor joined the Supreme Court in 2009. She is the country's first Hispanic justice.

Jody Christensen / Creative Commons

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says he agrees with some of the concerns about excessive spending at public universities raised by an aide to Governor Bruce Rauner. He was among those to respond last week to the memo from Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Goldberg. Killeen says the university has taken steps to enhance the experience for the student… including an administrative hiring freeze on the administration, and other measure to make sure the U of I is ‘fiscally prudent.’

Michael Hill / WGLT

More than 300 college students and twin city residents took part in a watch party at Illinois State University for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. ISU became the national hub for a live webcast sent out to nearly 500 campuses in the United States. 

Heartland Community College Student Hetal Bhirawani says she is impressed with the younger generation. “We are all interested in politics, and we want to know where we are going, where our future is going, and what the people in authority are doing to secure our future.”

MAP Grants May Be Victim of Budget Impasse

Jan 11, 2016

The state recently released a survey showing that many colleges won’t credit MAP grants for low-income students this spring semester. But those Monetary Award Program students aren’t the only ones whose grants have gone away.

When a police officer, firefighter or prison guard is killed or disabled in the line of duty, the state promises to provide their dependents with a college education.  But the budget impasse has put that promise on hold, says Eric Zarnikow, director of the Student Assistance Commission.

More Trouble For College of DuPage

Dec 17, 2015
James C. Svehla / College of DuPage

An accreditation agency has put the troubled College of DuPage in suburban Chicago on probation for two years. The school made the Higher Learning Commission's decision public on Wednesday. The school remains accredited, but being on probation means it has two years to address concerns from the commission. If the school doesn't address those concerns, the commission could withdraw accreditation. The school will be evaluated again in 2017. The commission says it found concerns with the college's integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and other functions.

University of Illinois has formed a committee to build the core curriculum of its new engineering-based medical school at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The university has announced the committee will be led by co-chairs Dr. Robert Good and Professor Rashid Bashir. Good is the senior associate medical director of population health at Carle Health System. Bashir heads the department of bioengineering at University of Illinois.  

Many agencies and organizations that rely on state funding are hard hit by the budget stalemate in Springfield.  The state isn’t mandated to fund higher education the way it must fund K-through-12 education, and the state’s colleges are feeling the pinch.  IPR's Heather Claborn reports.

The University of Illinois took an unusual step this year to increase its in-state enrollment, accepting students with lower entrance-exam scores to enroll while increasing financial aid by several million dollars.  
The moves worked. In-state enrollment jumped by 11 percent, to 5,490 from 4,927 a year earlier. The average ACT score for freshmen dropped by less than a point for in-state students at the flagship Urbana-Champaign campus.  

Jim Browne / WGLT

Eureka College has it's first female president, and it's first chancellor. Current president J. David Arnold will step into the role of chancellor as he begins a semi-retirement.

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