•January 6, 2016•
By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist
This may be the year, unprecedented, that Illinois simply skips funding for its colleges and universities as well as for students on state scholarships. As a broken-down professor, I hope I am wrong, as the consequences will be severe.
Yet there is little outcry. Higher education is, I fear, out of favor.
We must create a broad-based blue ribbon commission to look ahead and advise our colleges and universities as to what is in store for them in terms of state support.
Don’t snicker. In the 1950s, a blue ribbon task force called the Illinois Commission on Higher Education provided a blueprint for the state that ultimately gave us a tiered system of public higher education that has been admired across the country.
In this present budget year (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016), most of the state’s functions are being funded by court orders, even though the legislature and governor have never agreed upon a budget.
Higher education is the one major function of state government that has not been covered by the courts. Thus, there is no money from the state for operating the colleges and universities, nor for paying the tuition scholarships for 130,000 students (out of about 900,000 total students in all Illinois colleges and universities). Read More