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higher education

State university officials were grilled by lawmakers Tuesday. At issue is a record of lucrative severance packages for outgoing administrators.


An administrator resigned amid sexual harassment accusations. Another college hired him. A professor was found to have stalked a coworker. She agreed to retire, then won a Fulbright grant. Campus leaders vow reforms, but many say it’s a long road.

This article was produced in partnership with the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

Rich Egger

State lawmakers from Illinois expressed outrage during a legislative hearing Thursday over the issue of affluent families from Chicago suburbs transferring guardianship of their children to another adult in order to qualify them for need-based financial aid they otherwise would not receive. 

DATA VISUALIZATION BY COLE FREEMAN

A few years ago, when he was going to Yorkville High School, Matt Pitstick saw college recruiters roaming his school who surprised him and made his friends laugh. They were recruiters from a university more than 700 miles away: the University of Alabama. 

Low-income college students in Illinois got some good news today. The state's Monetary Award Program — which provides MAP grants to help pay for tuition — will be able to give more grants with more money, thanks to the largest appropriation in the fund’s history.

Lynne Baker, with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, says the agency approved a new formula that will boost grants by an average of $220 and cover at least 6,700 more students.

Carl Sandburg College

Dr. Seamus Reilly became president of  Carl Sandburg College on July 1, 2018. He's spent time the past five months giving brief presentations at local government meetings to introduce himself and talk about possible collaborations. 

The University of Illinois Springfield is the latest state school to see an enrollment decline, part a recent    trend for the campus.  

SIU employees will get a pay raise, and the university's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a formal budget during Thursday's meeting in Edwardsville.

As of Thursday, Northern Illinois University is one step closer to having a permanent president.

Northern Illinois University’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Dr. Lisa Freeman as their candidate for university president. She's been serving in an "acting" capacity since the resignation of Doug Baker in 2017. Trustees praised Dr. Freeman for her past year of leadership in a time of declining enrollment and budgetary realignment.  Former state representative and current board trustee Bob Pritchard says her leadership will be invaluable.

Winners and Losers As Illinois Universities Report Fall Enrollment

Sep 13, 2018

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.

Fall enrollment at SIU-Carbondale is down nearly 12-percent, but school officials say they are seeing some positive signs for the future.

Ten-day numbers released Tuesday show enrollment stands at 12,817 students.

One of Springfield’s top Republican negotiators on higher education said freeing up more money for financial aid might look easy compared to the coming debate over a new funding formula for state universities.

The Higher Education Working Group started meeting last fall to identify ways to reform higher education in Illinois.  And the group continues to meet even after lawmakers adjourned their 2018 legislative session.

SIU President Randy Dunn avoided suspension Thursday, as trustees were split four-to-four on whether to place him on administrative leave.

Rich Egger

Student enrollment dropped 9.1% this spring at Western Illinois University compared to spring of last year.

Al Bowman, a former president of Illinois State University, has been tapped to lead the Illinois Board of Higher Education. His appointment comes as higher education institutions have seen their budgets slashed and enrollment decline, so it’s hard to know whether to congratulate him.

“You know, I’ve been getting that from people,” Bowman laughs.

He is going into his new job eyes wide open. Illinois ranked number two in the nation for net loss of college students.

Rich Egger

A University of Illinois researcher said the state's two-year budget crisis has hurt the state's public universities and community colleges.

WATCH-LISTEN: State Budget Forum - Macomb

Aug 30, 2017

NPR Illinois and Tri States Public Radio host the seventh Illinois Issues Forum on the state's financial health and the lasting impacts of the two-year-long state budget impasse.

Courtesy WIU

The budget approved by Illinois lawmakers provides Western Illinois University with funding for last fiscal year and the current fiscal year. Now university leaders will decide how to proceed.

Rich Egger (file photo)

The Illinois House passed a spending plan along with a tax hike and revenue plan as politicians try to end the two year budget stalemate.  Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is one of the Republicans who broke ranks with their party and joined Democrats in supporting the measures.

Rich Egger

State spending on public higher education in Illinois has dropped precipitously during the past two years as the state has operated without a budget.  But the president of Western Illinois University said the school will not allow itself to be bogged down by the budget stalemate.

Northern Illinois University President Resigns

Jun 15, 2017
Jenna Dooley

Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker will step down on June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. He made the announcement at the beginning of the NIU Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, which had scheduled a closed session on its agenda to review "Presidential Employment."

Rich Egger

Higher education has been among the areas feeling the pain from the state budget impasse in Illinois as funding has been cut.  It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees, and, in some cases, close for several days. 

Professors at University of Illinois Springfield Go on Strike

May 3, 2017
NPR Illinois WUIS

Nearly 170 tenure and tenure-track professors at the University of Illinois Springfield went on strike Tuesday.

The school and the UIS United Faculty union have been  trying to work out a contract for 20 months. While salaries have been part of the discussion, the sticking points include issues of promotion and tenure. 

College professors across Illinois will step away from their classrooms to rally in Springfield on Thursday, April 27. The event called Teach Out for Illinois Higher Education is in response to the state budget stalemate.

siu.edu

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees last week pushed off a major financial decision.

Rich Egger

A Western Illinois University administrator said the school has enough money to make it through the Spring semester. But he's not saying much about the contingency plan WIU is developing in case the ongoing shortfall of state funding continues.

Illinois' budget impasse has prompted another "doomsday scenario" at Southern Illinois University – which could be voted on as early as next week.

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