WBEZ | college http://www.wbez.org/tags/college Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sept. 11 through the eyes of an NYU undergrad http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps-140912-Asha-Joseph_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;You know sometimes when you&rsquo;re in your house and a big truck will drive by and kinda shake the house? That&rsquo;s what it felt like,&rdquo; Asha Veal Brisebois says to her husband, Joseph, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Asha was in her bedroom at New York University&rsquo;s South Street Seaport dormitory, a five minute walk from the Twin Towers, when she felt her whole room rattle. &ldquo;And then I felt it again, and our suitemate opened the door and she was like: &lsquo;Something&rsquo;s going on.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Brisebois and her roommates gathered in the living room, turned on the TV and saw what was happening: Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. &ldquo;It was weird. The only reference point that we had was those Denzel Washington movies, or those big Hollywood movies, where it&rsquo;s like, &lsquo;The terrorists have attacked.&rsquo; And no one quite knew what was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>One of Asha&rsquo;s childhood friends called to see if she was okay. Asha said she was, and asked her friend to call her parents. As soon as she hung up, Asha&rsquo;s cell phone went dead.</p><p>Asha and her roommates started to panic. They lived on the fourteenth floor and someone suggested moving to a lower floor for safety. One of them had friends on the third floor, so they went downstairs. Their friends didn&rsquo;t answer and so the girls knocked on the door to the apartment next door. Three strangers let them in, and together they watched news reports on TV.</p><p>&ldquo;It was fine&hellip;Then it got weird when the Towers started to fall,&rdquo; Asha said. &ldquo;We felt it before we saw it on TV &ndash; I don&rsquo;t know if there was a delay - and then the windows would go dark. So it was just kind of: You feel it, you see it on TV, and then the windows go dark... And it happened twice.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;At one point the RA came and knocked on the door and was like: You have to leave. Everyone&rsquo;s afraid that all of downtown is going to fall&hellip;.Everything&rsquo;s unstable.&rdquo;</p><p>The air outside was dirty and Asha began to worry about her asthma. She asked to borrow a shirt from one of the men whose apartment they were in, so she could breathe into it. She was delayed and lost her friends in the chaos of the evacuation.</p><p>She walked for a while and eventually found herself in the school&rsquo;s gym, where she was reunited with her friends by chance. One of her roommates had Asha&rsquo;s asthma inhaler in her purse and had insisted on waiting for her outside of their dorm. Asha didn&rsquo;t see her, but the gesture was still meaningful.</p><p>&ldquo;You have your best friends from college&hellip;Those are my friends forever &ndash; people that took care of you like family on the worst of worst days&hellip;That&rsquo;s your family. Those are your friends. You stay with each other. You look out for each other.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sept-11-through-eyes-nyu-undergrad-110791 It's like the first day every day in popular 'Feelings' class http://www.wbez.org/news/its-first-day-every-day-popular-feelings-class-110676 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Oak_Park_and_River_Forest_High_School.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On the first day of school at west suburban Oak Park River Forest High School, 25 seniors trickle into the second floor library.</p><p>&ldquo;How many of you know of this class as &lsquo;Experiments in Reading Literature and the World&rsquo;? How many of you know it as &lsquo;Feelings&rsquo; class? How many know it as both?&rdquo; asks teacher Avi Lessing.</p><p>&ldquo;Either way you&rsquo;re in the right place.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Lessing started teaching this class in 2005 after pitching it to a bunch of juniors. It was pretty popular then, but now, it&rsquo;s even more so. This year, there are nine sections and two other teachers teaching it.<br /><br />&ldquo;The main idea of the class, if I could sum it up, is that, you know how on the first day of school is the getting-to-know each other day and the rest of the days become just like school?&rdquo; Lessing said. &ldquo;In this class, every day is the getting to know you, and getting to know yourself, and getting to know your classmates.&rdquo;</p><p>Lessing says as school becomes more and more about academic achievement and test scores, students are missing important skills&mdash;often referred to in education circles as social-emotional skills&mdash;like how to listen, how to communicate, how to relate to people with different experiences than your own.</p><p>This class has become one piece of a bigger focus at Oak Park River Forest to integrate social-emotional learning into the curriculum. The school&rsquo;s Board of Education outlined it specifically in the formal goals for the 2014-2015 school year.<br /><br />The kids in Lessing&rsquo;s second period class on Tuesday are racially diverse and come from all different parts of the school&mdash;athletes, brains, music nerds&mdash;a bit like <em>The Breakfast Club</em>.<br /><br />Class starts with all the students standing in a big circle. For the rest of the period, they play a series of different name games. First, find the people you know and say hello. Then, stop, find a partner, stand back-to-back and change three things about your physical appearance.</p><p>Emma Burke puts her straight brown hair in a ponytail, takes off a shoe and removes her ID. Another young man pulls the bottom hem of his shirt up and through his collar so his stomach is exposed.&nbsp;</p><p>The pairs then turn around and try to notice what the other person had changed.<br /><br />&ldquo;You buttoned your flannel and your ID is backward,&rdquo; Burke guesses.<br /><br />Then, Lessing tells the students to find the people they don&rsquo;t know, introduce themselves and bow to each other. After that, with another different partner, play &ldquo;two truths and a lie&rdquo; and finally, recap by walking around, touching someone&rsquo;s shoe and repeating their name.<br /><br />At the end of class, Lessing asks each student to go around and say why they signed up for this class in the first place. The answers are all over the board.<br /><br />&ldquo;I took this class because my homies told me it was cool,&rdquo; says Sargron Sinclair.<br />&ldquo;My sister told me to,&rdquo; Burke says.<br />&ldquo;I wanted a non-traditional learning environment,&rdquo; says Elaine Houha.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;My counselor put me here,&rdquo; a young man named Toby says.<br />&ldquo;I took this class because I want to learn something that I can actually apply to my life,&rdquo; adds a girl named Beverly.<br /><br />With a class full of seniors, Lessing warns the students it&rsquo;s not just an easy &lsquo;A&rsquo; or a blow-off class.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s easy in the sense that you get to know a lot of people,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But I think it&rsquo;s hard in the sense that you have to show up and kind of face each other and be here. I value your presence more than anything else.&rdquo;<br /><br />And, he hopes, students will eventually see &ldquo;Feelings&rdquo; class as less of a class and more a part of who they&rsquo;re each becoming.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer and reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/its-first-day-every-day-popular-feelings-class-110676 Searching for a place in college http://www.wbez.org/news/searching-place-college-110645 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/marcus.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>In high school, I knew that I wanted to go to college, but I didn&rsquo;t know how I was going to get there. My senior year, I got a full-ride scholarship to Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire and it was a no brainer to take it.</p><p>I was excited to go, until I got there and felt like I couldn&rsquo;t relate to anyone.&nbsp;</p><p>My college is about 70 percent Caucasian and only 5 percent African-American, and so coming from a high school where it&rsquo;s 99 percent African-American, that alone was a big adjustment.</p><p>I&rsquo;m not the only one who feels this way, so I decided to talk to a couple of people experiencing the same thing. This is our story.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/162888792&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Students interviewed are Taneja Shaw and Aaron Atchison. You can also hear a conversation about adjusting to college from <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/college-offers-unique-and" target="_blank"><em>Morning Shift</em></a>.</p><p><em>Atchison wrote a story last year for WBEZ called &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/their-own-words-fear-freshman-year-108361">Fear of Freshman Year</a>&quot;. </em></p></p> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/searching-place-college-110645 Student loan debt hurdle for Chicago's wanna-be homebuyers http://www.wbez.org/news/student-loan-debt-hurdle-chicagos-wanna-be-homebuyers-110340 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/michelle-tim-student-loans_0.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 280px; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px; float: left;" title="Michelle Skinner and Tim Johnson have been married for almost a year, and were hoping to buy a house, but they’re struggling to save because of their student loan debt. Johnson has $27,000 from UIC, and though Skinner is getting her pHD at the University of Chicago, her $70,000 in loans from UIC will begin to slowly come out of deferment next year. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />There&rsquo;s one room in his Bridgeport apartment that Tim Johnson likes to make special note of when giving a grand tour. The bright, sunny space used to be the landlord&#39;s bedroom, but now it functions as a living room for him and his wife Michelle Skinner.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not what makes it special.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really proud of this room because we didn&rsquo;t pay for anything in it,&rdquo; Johnson announces. &ldquo;Everything came from family members or we found it somewhere. Except for the credenza, we had to buy that because nothing else fit.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s easy to see that Johnson prides himself in his penny-pinching skills. He says he even tracks his credit score like some others might track their favorite sports team.</p><p>But even with his meticulous financial planning, the newlyweds say that buying a home is out of the question - thanks to their student loan debt.</p><p>Johnson, 27, has about $27,000 in student loans from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He says his payments are manageable for now, but as Skinner, 23, continues through her PhD program at the University of Chicago, her $70,000 in undergraduate loans will slowly come out of deferment -- making it almost impossible for them to save enough for things like a downpayment or closing costs, no matter how badly they want more room for a baby one day.</p><p>&ldquo;We try to save Tim&rsquo;s bonuses for it,&rdquo; Skinner said. &ldquo;But the market prices have been increasing - or at least what we need has been increasing at a proportion to which we can&rsquo;t save.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve given up on it for like five years,&rdquo; Johnson said. &ldquo;Once Michelle gets out of school and gets a full-time position then we can start to look. And what has me worried is, (whether) we&rsquo;ll have a down payment by that point.&rdquo;</p><p>You don&rsquo;t have to look far to find another example of hopeful home-buyers struggling to get out from under their student debt. Just a few blocks away, Martin Gleason and Shannon Glass are also doing the math to see whether they can buy a home with all their student loan debt.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/marty-shannon-student-loans_0.jpg" style="height: 240px; width: 320px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Marty Gleason and Shannon Glass have been living in their Bridgeport apartment for the last three years. They’d love to buy a bigger place, but with his $96,000 worth of student debt, and her soon to be $25,000 in student debt, they don’t think they can afford it. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />They&rsquo;ve been married since 2009, and have been living in Bridgeport for the last three years. Gleason has around $96,000 in student debt from both undergrad and graduate school -- he&rsquo;s currently a Juvenile Court Probation officer, but is making a career switch to IT. Shannon, his wife, is currently going back to school, and even though her job at Time Magazine reimburses about half of her tuition, she&rsquo;ll still need about $25,000 in loans.</p><p>&ldquo;To be fair, it&rsquo;s not unbearable,&rdquo; Gleason said. &ldquo;But it&rsquo;s also like we&rsquo;re treading water.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to know just how many other Chicagoans are in a similar situation, as research or housing data only really keeps track of the people who end up buying a place. For example, the <a href="http://economistsoutlook.blogs.realtor.org/2014/06/05/nar-survey-data-student-debt-and-saving-for-downpayment-among-successful-home-buyers/">National Association of Realtors</a> found that 54 percent of first-time homebuyers reported that student debt delayed saving for the purchase of a home, but they can&rsquo;t count how many didn&rsquo;t buy, or couldn&rsquo;t buy, because of student debt.</p><p>But local realtors and lenders will tell you, they see this all the time.</p><p>&ldquo;The thing that&rsquo;s really sad about this is that we are, particularly in the Chicago market, at an all-time high of affordability. Interest rates are so low, that you&rsquo;re able to buy much more of a house,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.atproperties.com/agents/4064/david-zwarycz">David &nbsp;Zwarycz</a>, broker associate at @properties. &quot;However, if your available funds are being depleted because you&rsquo;re servicing student debt, you&rsquo;re losing out on this opportunity.&rdquo;</p><p>But even if wanna-be buyers with student debt can cobble together enough for that down payment, there&rsquo;s still another hurdle that&rsquo;s hitting them particularly hard. It&rsquo;s called the debt-to-income ratio, and it means pretty much just that.</p><p>You add up all your monthly debt payments -- like student loans, car loans, credit card debt -- and divide it by your monthly income. Some experts say rent is also included in the calculation, but the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau contends it&rsquo;s included in a separate equation.</p><p>New <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/1791/what-debt-income-ratio-why-43-debt-income-ratio-important.html">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a> rules that started in January maintain that 43 percent is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage from a lender. So if you&rsquo;re bringing home $3500 a month, that only gives you about $1500 to pay all of your bills and come in at 43 percent.</p><p>And with Illinois <a href="http://projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-view2013.php?area=IL">graduates </a>carrying an average of $28,000 in student loan debt, 43 percent can be a tough number to avoid, so a lot of hopeful young buyers are getting turned down.</p><p>Dan Gjeldum, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate, says they deal with this often. They&rsquo;ve also seen a lot of parents coming in recently to co-sign to try and help the cause.</p><p>&ldquo;There are more and more people who have student debt for sure,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The increase in cost of college education, as a father with four kids - three in elementary school and one in preschool - I don&rsquo;t freak out daily about it, but whenever I think about it, I get nervous.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if the industry could have planned ahead for it, or viewed it any differently because the debt is real, and the debt has to be paid back, I think it&rsquo;s a problem that&rsquo;s going to move into the future because of the rising cost of education.&rdquo;</p><p>For those who just squeak in under the debt-to-income-ratio, Zwarycz says their debt still matters, as the more they carry, the weaker their buying power. And he says that&rsquo;s been causing a slowdown in Chicago&rsquo;s entry level market.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s this large amount of inventory particularly in the city&rsquo;s smaller condominiums that are typically first-time homebuyer properties. If an individual can&rsquo;t sell their first-time home property that they bought five years ago, they can&rsquo;t move up to the upgrade property. And that has sort of a ripple effect through the entire market,&rdquo; Zwarycz said.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s a reason these restrictions were put into place in the first place.</p><p>&ldquo;At the end of the day, I&rsquo;d rather us be complaining about lending being too strict, that it being too loose,&quot; said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac VP.</p><p>Blomquist said he&rsquo;s worried about all this too, but experiencing another big crash like 2008 is a much bigger concern.</p><p>&ldquo;Too loose lending got us into the housing bubble, so it&rsquo;s the lesser of two evils, I would say, to have us have tough lending and it is keeping things in check,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>&ldquo;We can&rsquo;t wave a magic wand and make that student loan debt not be a factor in loan qualification, and even if we did have that magic wand, we shouldn&rsquo;t use it because it would have hugely negative impacts on the housing market.&rdquo;</p><p>David Zwarycz&rsquo;s partner <a href="http://debradobbs.com/">Debra Dobbs</a> says she&rsquo;s constantly talking to colleagues about finding a way around this problem.</p><p>She says maybe lenders could start dealing with student debt differently in the ratio than say credit card debt from big clothing purchases or an auto loan for a fancy car.</p><p>She&rsquo;s tired of seeing clients like a married couple - both doctors - who have so much student debt that their combined salaries still weren&rsquo;t enough to get a loan the first time.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her</em> <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></p><p><em>This story was edited June 16, 2014, to clarify what factors are included in the debt-to-income ratio.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 07:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/student-loan-debt-hurdle-chicagos-wanna-be-homebuyers-110340 After suicide attempt, college student helps others deal with mental illness http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-suicide-attempt-college-student-helps-others-deal-mental-illness-109943 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.43.50 PM.png" alt="" /><p><p>Three years ago, Wesleyan college student Molly Jenkins tried to take her own life&mdash;twice.</p><p>Molly told her mom that her suicidal thoughts first began while recovering from a major surgery that left her bedridden.</p><p>After 6 months of therapy at Chicago&rsquo;s Rush Hospital, she returned to college and became a mental health advocate.</p><p><strong>Molly: &ldquo;It was really important for me to come out with this stamp on my forehead that said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;ve attempted suicide and I don&rsquo;t care what you guys think&rsquo; because I knew there were other people who, like me, were suffering in silence.&rdquo;</strong></p><p>To hear Molly and her mother discuss this trying period in their lives for the first time, check out the audio above.</p><p><em>Meredith Zielke is a WBEZ producer. </em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/after-suicide-attempt-college-student-helps-others-deal-mental-illness-109943 Morning Shift: Looking at the past and hazy future of fraternity pledging http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-26/morning-shift-looking-past-and-hazy-future-fraternity <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hazing Flickr opacity.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We get a preview of Governor Pat Quinn&#39;s budget address. Also, some details behind a proposal to create another Big Ten public university in Illinois. And, housing news from real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-looking-at-the-past-and-hazy-future/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-looking-at-the-past-and-hazy-future.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-looking-at-the-past-and-hazy-future" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Looking at the past and hazy future of fraternity pledging" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 26 Mar 2014 08:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-03-26/morning-shift-looking-past-and-hazy-future-fraternity Big sister shares tips on how to survive the loneliness of high school http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/big-sister-shares-tips-how-survive-loneliness-high-school-109219 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Lucy and Jennifer.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When Lucy Zhuo left for college this fall, her little sister, Jennifer, didn&rsquo;t realize how much she would miss her. The two visited the Chicago StoryCorps&rsquo; booth recently to catch up.</p><p><strong>Jennifer</strong>: Honestly, it&rsquo;s been really lonely, since you&rsquo;re, like, my only sister ...</p><p>Jennifer said having her sister away at college was especially hard now because she&rsquo;s a sophomore this year, and is taking several junior classes. The other students are older than her, so she doesn&rsquo;t know them. She said the tendency of students to gossip limits what she shares with her friends.</p><p><strong>Lucy</strong>:.. I learned going into college how important it is not to get so sucked up into your work especially since your family&rsquo;s not around. You rely on your friends in college. You need to find those friends. You can&rsquo;t isolate yourself.</p><p><em>To hear the rest of Lucy&rsquo;s advice to Jennifer about how to survive (and even enjoy!) high school, click on the audio above.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/big-sister-shares-tips-how-survive-loneliness-high-school-109219 Morning Shift: A Superbowl champ tackles concussions in the game http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-06/morning-shift-superbowl-champ-tackles-concussions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Football - Flickr- LITTLE MIAMI LACROSSE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Bears Superbowl champ Dennis McKinnon discusses a new film that takes on the concussion epidemic in the NFL. Also, financial expert Sandy Botkin gives tips on saving for one of the mor financially taxing expenditures any of of us makes - higher education.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-59/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-59.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-59" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: A Superbowl champ tackles concussions in the game" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 06 Sep 2013 08:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-06/morning-shift-superbowl-champ-tackles-concussions Morning Shift: Fear, excitement and uncertainty face the college bound http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-09/morning-shift-fear-excitement-and-uncertainty-face <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Dorm-Flickr- Robert Boscacci.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Are you or one of your kids heading off to college? We discuss some of the trepidation both students and parents face as they make the jump to college co-ed.</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-40.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-40" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Fear, excitement and uncertainty face the college bound" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 08:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-08-09/morning-shift-fear-excitement-and-uncertainty-face Illinois Truth in Tuition law helps families but hurts schools, experts say http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-truth-tuition-law-helps-families-hurts-schools-experts-say-108167 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Truth%20Tuition_130723_AY.jpg" style="height: 304px; width: 600px; float: left;" title="Spending on college overall has fallen since the recession. That, along with the Illinois requirement to fix tuition for four years, makes budgeting difficult for state universities. (Sallie Mae)" />As the Illinois Truth-in-Tuition law reaches its 10th year, experts say it helps families plan for college, but it makes it harder for public colleges to be strategic.</p><p>The law allows Illinois undergraduate students at public universities to attend school for four years without tuition increases. An amendment passed in 2010 extended it to six years, though allowing the school to increase tuition rates for fifth or sixth year students, as long as the price matches that of the students that came immediately after then.</p><p>Although the law provides some stability to students, it has hurt universities, says Allan Karnes, accounting professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.</p><p>For example, when a university needs to increase tuition due to rising costs, inflation or decreasing state support, the incoming class has to shoulder the entire increase because their counterparts cannot pay higher fees.</p><p>&lsquo;It appears we&rsquo;re raising tuition much more than we actually are, and so that cast us in a bad light,&rdquo; Karnes says.</p><p>Moreover, the binding law requires public universities to guess what their budget will be for the next couple of years, says Thomas Hardy, executive director for media relations at the University of Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;It requires that the university take a bit of foresight in terms of where cost may go, and then reading a bit of a crystal ball, set tuition that will be fixed for a four year period,&rdquo; Hardy says. &ldquo;It locks us in for a four-year period.&rdquo;</p><p>He adds that this comes at a time of decreasing state support. Since 2002, the University of Illinois has lost about $1 billion in spending authority, leading to tuition hikes and cuts. For example, the university shut down its Institute of Aviation in July 2011.</p><p>Having to predict future costs is also difficult, says Kinga Mauger, the bursar at Northern Illinois University. For example, the school did not expect the recession. Although the school faces rising costs, Mauger says it doesn&rsquo;t want to simply ask incoming students to shoulder the burden. As a result, budgeting is far more difficult.</p><p>A new survey of 800 undergraduates and parents nationwide from student loan company Sallie Mae found that since 2010 and the recession, parents have paid less for college, relying more on loans, grants and scholarships. Overall, high and low-income families have paid less for college since 2010, but middle-income families have paid more.</p><p>Beyond Illinois, a federal Truth in Tuition proposal has been sent to a House committee.</p><p>It requires schools to give students a multi-year fee schedule upon admission, but allows for changes.</p><p>Karnes of the Illinois State Board of Education says lawmakers are not in the best position to draft tuition policies.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not a general understanding at that level (of) what the budgetary pressures are,&rdquo; Karnes says. &ldquo;Every school is different. We determine what tuition should be by what our costs are. We&rsquo;re not trying to make money. We&rsquo;re just trying to break even.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him @Alan_Yu039.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-truth-tuition-law-helps-families-hurts-schools-experts-say-108167