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TSPR Local

Making Public Universities Private in Illinois

WIU-ShermanHall-03.jpg
Rich Egger
/
Sherman Hall at Western Illinois University. WIU would become a private school under a plan proposed by a former candidate for governor.

Illinois State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) filed an amendment to a bill (SB 1565) that would ask Western Illinois and other public universities to plan to be privatized over the next six years.

Brady said he's been thinking about the idea for several years and wanted to start discussion on the proposal.

“I think this also works to help empower more alumni to get more involved in universities. (It’s) one of the strengths I think that private universities benefit from,” said Brady.

Brady doubted he will call the bill this year but wants public debate on the measure.

He said the state would lease each public university land and buildings to the newly private non-profit institutions for a nominal fee per year.

Brady said relieving public universities of state procurement and other mandated regulation could ease their financial burdens and free up money for more student aid.

He does not envision further diminishment of state operating support for the six universities.

Wisconsin and Virginia have also begun conversations about privatizing flagship public universities.