Higher Education

While the sometimes heated discussion about an academic reorganization proposal continues at SIU-Carbondale, Southeast Missouri State University is moving ahead with its own restructuring plan.

The Cape Girardeau School's Board of Regents approved academic department restructurings Friday on a smaller scale.

The Northern Illinois University student newspaper will begin receiving student fees in order to save the student-operated Northern Star. According to an editorial published this week, the newspaper received student fees prior to 1996 but opted out due to its financial position at that time.

The $600,000 severance agreement with former President Doug Baker was approved again Thursday morning by the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees.

The re-vote came as the result of a lawsuit brought by DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh, who contended the trustees didn’t give the Presidential Transition Agreement proper public notice the first time in violation of the Open Meetings Act. A DeKalb County Circuit Court judge agreed and declared the original approval null and void.

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Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Governor Bruce Rauner joined Japan's Consul General to the Midwest at Rend Lake College for a workforce and education roundtable.

They were joined Wednesday by educational leaders, employers and economic development officials from southern Illinois.

When Al Bowman was president of Illinois State University, he liked the freedom and flexibility that he had to run his campus. Now that tables have turned.

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Twitter/College Democrats of IL

A member of the Illini Democrats opened the candidates forum Monday night, with a line sure to please the party faithful:

Illinois' public colleges and universities have weathered the two year budget impasse and are once again expecting routine state aid payments. As the schools look ahead, they're working to secure their financial footing and publicly rebound from the ordeal.

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.

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SIU

SIU President Randy Dunn says there are challenges ahead – but he has big plans for the system.

Chapin Rose, the Republican state senator from Mahoment, says he's filing a measure designed to launch major changes in higher education.

The WIU administration blames the uncertainty caused by the two year state budget impasse for this year's drop in enrollment.

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Eastern Illinois University data show that enrollment for the fall semester is down by about 5 percent but it's the school's lowest decline from fall-to-fall in six years.

The college year has started again, and for many students, that means anxiety over debt is here again, too.

The Institute for College Access and Success found the class of 2015 in Illinois graduated with an average debt of 26-thousand-dollars.

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Kiera Ellis

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth says further investment in higher education could mean big things for innovation and growth in the future.

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 … minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

Illinois has tapped nearly $700 million in existing funds to make the first payment to colleges and universities they've received in seven months.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the payment Thursday.

A DeKalb County Board member is suing the Northern Illinois University Board of Trustees over President Doug Baker’s severance package.

Higher Education and money
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The state's budget impasse may soon affect more than just overall funding for higher education.


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 Doug Baker will step down on June 30, the end of the current academic year. 

He made the announcement at the beginning of the NIU Board of Trustees meeting, which had scheduled a closed session on its agenda to review “Presidential Employment.”  After a marathon closed session, Trustees emerged to announce their transition plan. Executive Vice President and Provost Lisa Freeman will serve as interim president, but will not pursue the position permanently. On July 1st, Freeman becomes NIU's first female president.

The Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the state is reducing fees and giving more investment choices to people saving money for college in the state's 529 college savings plans.

Northeastern Illinois University will lay off workers to cope with an Illinois budget impasse that has reduced state funding.

The university announced Tuesday it will eliminate about 180 full-time jobs in the coming weeks.

With the Illinois legislative session scheduled to end on Wednesday, lawmakers were busy trying to deal with some measures still needing action.

Eastern Illinois University is taking aggressive measures to recruit new high school students to its campus.

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

But a review of enrollment indicates small and mid-sized public universities are taking a double hit.   

Northern Illinois University officials say there will be 150 staff position reductions as the school tries to cut expenses.

Illinois state senators are debating whether to impose more regulations on student loan servicers.

The legislation would require the companies to get a state license to operate in Illinois.

Higher Education and money
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Just days after Moody's warned of a potential credit downgrade for Illinois' public universities, Standard & Poor's took action to lower the credit of a couple - and placed three on a negative watch list.

Faculty members at the University of Illinois Springfield have voted to authorize a strike.

People
Brad Palmer, WSIU Radio

Governor Bruce Rauner brought his campaign tour to southern Illinois Wednesday.

Speaking to a group of supporters and workers at Aisin Manufacturing in Marion, the governor says Illinois government is broken and his turnaround agenda items are needed to fix it.

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