WBEZ | Southern Illinois University http://www.wbez.org/tags/southern-illinois-university Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Budget Impasse Halts Student Scholarships http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-21/illinois-budget-impasse-halts-student-scholarships-114551 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/0121_university-illinois-ap-624x401.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More than 200 days have passed since the State of Illinois has operated on a budget. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic state legislative leaders continue to disagree on a solution, and while the fight goes on, state-funded schools are among the many services getting squeezed.</p><p>On Wednesday, Republican state lawmakers announced a proposal to allow Chicago Public Schools to declare bankruptcy, which would put the schools under state control.</p><p>Illinois universities &ndash; and their students &ndash; are also facing challenges. About&nbsp;128,000 students receiving education grants through the Monetary Award Program, or MAP, are no longer getting that money from the state, making it impossible for some to pay for their classes.</p><p><em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s </em>Jeremy Hobson speaks with<a href="https://twitter.com/SIUPresident" target="_blank">&nbsp;Randy Dunn</a>, president of the Southern Illinois University [SIU] system, and&nbsp;Alejandra Le, a junior at Chicago State University and MAP recipient, about the effects of the impasse.</p><hr /><p><strong><span style="font-size:20px;">Interview Highlights</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:16px;">Randy Dunn</span></strong></p><p><strong>How many students have decided not to re-enroll because of the grant money?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;At this point we&rsquo;re still in the process of determining that exact number. If you look at the SIU system as a whole, we have about 7,700 students who are MAP eligible. Now of course, in any given semester, not all of those students will decide to come to school. Some will have other plans or make other arrangements, so we&rsquo;re looking right now at what the impact of this is. We anticipate that, at the two undergraduate campuses for Southern Illinois University, we could be looking at hundreds of students. Until we make the individual contacts, finding out why those students are not coming back for next semester, it&rsquo;s difficult to say. But certainly it&rsquo;s not beyond the pale to think that we may be looking at anywhere from 200 to 400 undergraduates not returning to one of the two SIU campuses.</p><p>What I&rsquo;ve said is that, if you extrapolate that to the state as a whole, we could potentially be looking at thousands of students who will lose that accessibility to higher education this semester. Understand, Jeremy, that MAP dollars go not just to university students, but this is a contract or covenant between the state and all students. This applies to students at community colleges or private institutions, but all of the colleges and universities are in the process of making contacts via their advisers and recruiters to find out why these students are not back for spring.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Is this mostly low-income students that you&rsquo;re talking about?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Yes it is. There are income guidelines for accessibility to MAP, so we try to find out why those students aren&rsquo;t back. It won&rsquo;t be because of MAP for all of them, but we anticipate a significant number of students state-wide because, not knowing how this all will play out, decide to take a semester off or longer.</p><p>One of the things we have happening is that all of the public universities in the state, so far, are continuing to front the MAP money from our own institutional funds. But we&rsquo;ve had to change that message to the students to say that if the state doesn&rsquo;t come through with that reimbursement, if they do not fund MAP and make it whole, we would have to come back to the students and ask for payments on their accounts. I think that&rsquo;s had a chilling effect on some number of them in looking at what to do for spring semester.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How long can you continue to do that, to front the money? &nbsp;</strong></p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve committed for spring semester, and as I talk to my colleague presidents around the state, everyone&rsquo;s doing that on a semester-by-semester basis. But understand that it&rsquo;s not that we just haven&rsquo;t seen the MAP money, the state support of public university operations has not been appropriated either. We have seen no support from the state of Illinois, it&rsquo;s part of the funding stream for all of the public universities and it cannot go on forever.</p><p>I think all of us are very hesitant to give a certain date, to say that at some point we are going to cut all of this off because we all want to ensure that all of our students can come back to school. But this is not a situation that can go on indefinitely.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What would your message be to the state legislature and the governor?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Within the past 20 years, Illinois has been recognized as a state with a system of public higher education that was really among the best in the country. And over these past 20 years, we have seen this dismantling; an incremental approach in which we&rsquo;ve seen a disinvestment in the work of the state universities.</p><p>I do worry that we&rsquo;re just going to continue this to the point that we give up so much of what defines us as strong state universities that we&rsquo;re going to turn around and not be able to put it back again. It&rsquo;s not just educating students, that&rsquo;s the core work obviously, but if you look at what we do around economic development, regional support and services and quality of life, most of us are involved in public broadcasting, there are a range of services that great state universities provide. We are stewards of the places we are in, and we&rsquo;re in a time where I think we are about to lose that here in Illinois if we cannot get a solution to this budget stalemate that we have in front of us.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:16px;">Alejandra Le</span></strong></p><p><strong>How has the loss of this grant affected you?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s affected me greatly, actually. For the first time in three years, I have a balance. And I typically don&rsquo;t work during the week, and now I have to commute back from school to my job, which is a 45 minute to an hour drive, so sometimes I don&rsquo;t get lunch. It&rsquo;s very difficult because I am working to pay off this balance and I don&rsquo;t want to ask my mother for money. I am a first-generation student and my mother does not have the money to put me through college. I&rsquo;ve relied on the MAP grants and now that the grant isn&rsquo;t here, it&rsquo;s hitting me and I honestly don&rsquo;t know what I&rsquo;m going to do for next semester.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>How much money is that balance?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Probably $1,000. Typically it costs around $5,000 per semester. The MAP grants usually cover that. Pell Grants usually give you about $2,800 and then MAP grants give you about $1,500 to $1,600, depending on how you fill out your FAFSA and how much your parents make. The reason I have that balance is because I don&rsquo;t have those MAP grants and I have to find a way to pay that off.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What is your backup plan if you are unable to continue at Chicago State?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Right now I honestly don&rsquo;t have a backup plan. The only real backup plan I have is to work. I recently got a new job. It&rsquo;s paying me fairly well, so honestly the only thing I&rsquo;m thinking about is that if the doors are not opened for me and all higher education students, I will probably just continue to work until I can find an institution that is affordable.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>What were you hoping to do with your degree?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;With my psychology degree I wanted to continue on and get my Masters in clinical mental health and then I wanted to get my Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. That&rsquo;s not looking so bright for me right now.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Who do you blame for this situation?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Honestly it&rsquo;s not our lawmakers. I don&rsquo;t blame anyone. It&rsquo;s just something that&rsquo;s out of our control.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>You feel it&rsquo;s out of your control, there&rsquo;s nothing you can do about it?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I personally feel that if we launch a missile and all public organizations and institutions get together and make it clear that we need a state budget, I feel that we can do something about it. However we need to join together and Illinois doesn&rsquo;t fully grasp this, but we need to join together and launch this missile so that it can land on the desk of Bruce Rauner.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Between Bruce Rauner and the Democratic legislature, you don&rsquo;t blame one more than the other?</strong></p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t blame one over the other. Typically because it is not a one-man team.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/01/21/illinois-budget-education-grants" target="_blank"><em>&mdash;via Here &amp; Now</em></a></p></p> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-21/illinois-budget-impasse-halts-student-scholarships-114551 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 SIU board raises tuition by 4.8 percent http://www.wbez.org/news/siu-board-raises-tuition-48-percent-99043 <p><p>New students at Southern Illinois University will be paying nearly 5 percent more in tuition this fall while continuing students face higher fees.</p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/KMeLBJ">WSIU Radio reports</a> that the university's trustees signed off on the increases Thursday.</p><p>Trustees Roger Herrin and Don Lowery voted against those actions, saying budget cuts should be made to rein in costs.</p><p>Administrators say they've cut to the core in many areas, with little other places to trim.</p><p>New students this fall will pay $272 per credit hour, and seven mandatory fees for all students are going up.</p></p> Fri, 11 May 2012 08:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/siu-board-raises-tuition-48-percent-99043 Iowa political reporting guru-turned-Illinois academic can't stay away from caucuses http://www.wbez.org/story/iowa-political-reporting-guru-turned-illinois-academic-cant-stay-away-caucuses-95247 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/yepsen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A longtime Iowa reporter-turned-Illinois academic has been pulled back into the whirlwind coverage of his home state's presidential caucuses.</p><p>David Yepsen covered nine Iowa caucuses for the <em>Des Moines Register</em> and became the go-to-guy for out-of-town reporters looking for analysis. And though he's no longer a reporter, he's still all over the news ahead of tonight's vote, with recent appearances including <a href="http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/303449-4">C-SPAN</a>, <a href="http://hardballblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/29/9810225-hardball-in-des-moines-iowa">MSNBC</a> and <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7393470n">CBS</a>.</p><p>Yepsen left the paper after the 2008 election to lead the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. He's back in Iowa now for the winter break, bouncing from interview to interview.</p><p>"There's a certain adrenaline rush that goes with covering politics in a political campaign. Everything's always in motion, the news is constantly changing, constantly reaction to developments," Yepsen said Tuesday as he waited for another cable news interview.</p><p>"You know, I miss some of that excitement," he said. "But - I must say - it does take a toll on you after a while. And, so it's nice to be able to sit back and reflect a little bit more on what's going on."</p><p>Yepsen said he'll be back in Carbondale on Wednesday or Thursday to resume his duties at SIU.</p><p>Illinois voters don't get a say in the presidential race until March 20th. Yepsen said "odds-are" the Republican primary will over before then.</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483846-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-january/2012-01-03/illinois-primary.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>"But there is a scenario where it could have some meaning," he added, noting that more states this year will allocate delegates to presidential candidates by a proportional vote, rather than winner-takes-all.</p><p>"That means that a candidate who gets a slice of the votes is also going to get a slice of the delegates, and that may keep the race going on a little bit longer than it has in the past," Yepsen said. "And it may in fact be that the Illinois Republican primary is going to be an important one."</p></p> Tue, 03 Jan 2012 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/iowa-political-reporting-guru-turned-illinois-academic-cant-stay-away-caucuses-95247 Scholarship for SIU Leader's kin raises questions http://www.wbez.org/story/scholarship-siu-leaders-kin-raises-questions-88393 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-27/5707326850_0045b42fbd.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard's granddaughter is receiving a scholarship worth $80,000 to the school that raises a tricky issue for both he and the university.&nbsp;</p><p>It isn't because Maddie Poshard is an undeserving student but because of who her grandfather is.&nbsp;</p><p>Dan Mann is director of student financial aid at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He told the Chicago Tribune that Glenn Poshard perhaps&nbsp; shouldn't have allowed his 18-year-old granddaughter to compete for a Presidential/Chancellor Scholarship.</p><p>But Mann says SIU also looks hard for top students to enroll.</p><p>Maddie Poshard is a top student at Riverton High School near Springfield with a strong ACT score.&nbsp;</p><p>Glenn Poshard said his granddaughter earned the scholarship.&nbsp;</p><p>SIU chancellor Rita Cheng says no one has complained about the scholarship.</p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/scholarship-siu-leaders-kin-raises-questions-88393 Illinois universities worried about lack of state funding http://www.wbez.org/story/glenn-poshard/illinois-universities-worried-about-lack-state-funding <p><p>Some public universities say they're stretched too thin because of Illinois' ongoing budget crisis. Southern Illinois University has struggled to negotiate contracts with two employees' unions. SIU President Glenn Poshard blames the state for not paying money it owes to universities.</p><p>&quot;The state's been in a terrible condition. We've been in a terrible condition,&quot;&nbsp;Poshard said. &quot;We're trying to pay our bills. We're trying to maintain our programs. You know, and we need help and we're asking everybody to help a little bit. Some folks have chosen not to.&quot;</p><p>Meanwhile, a Northern Illinois University spokesman says faculty there have become disgruntled over state funding and are preparing to quit.</p><p>Illinois lawmakers have been asking university presidents to come up with a list of programs that are expendable.</p></p> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 13:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/glenn-poshard/illinois-universities-worried-about-lack-state-funding