SIU Trustees Begin December Meetings With Funding, Enrollment Discussions

Dec 4, 2019

SIU Trustees appear split on how - and when - to change the way state funding is divided between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

A working group has developed a proposal that would split new state money 50/50 between the two - but hold previous allocations at their current levels through FY 2022. Trustee Ed Curtis says that's an eternity, and wants a faster change.

"We're going to be in a world in two and a half years if we don't make some very steep cuts. We have high operating leverage on this campus, which was built for a university twice this size."

But Trustee Roger Tedrick says it's the right approach given new leadership that's about to take over.

"If our new president comes to us and says 'I've looked at this, and we need to change this allocation,' this board will be supportive of that. There is no doubt about that - that's what we expect him to do."

The division of monies has become a contentious issue in the SIU system, as SIU Edwardsville's enrollment has grown and SIU Carbondale's has shrunk.

Some say the money should be based solely on enrollment, while others say research, mission, and other factors should be taken into account. Some trustees say this three-year plan will allow administrators to do that, while others maintain they want a faster resolution.

ENROLLMENT

Both the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses report applications are up by more than 20-percent for the next academic year, and leaders say they're working to turn those applicants into enrolled students.

Interim SIUC Chancellor John Dunn says his campus is looking for unique areas of opportunity - like Riverside School District in California.

"They have 40,000 students, and their diversity measures are really good. There's so much potential and possibility. So the idea there is to remind them that you can come to SIU Carbondale at the same tuition rate as any Illinois resident, and furthermore, we can do some of this distance delivery."

Dunn says California has a capacity problem in higher education, and SIU Carbondale is hoping to give some students there a chance at college that they might not otherwise get.