SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Report: Tuition costs skyrocketed at public colleges amid 20 years of state disinvestment

By ANDREW ADAMS
Capitol News Illinois
aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com

CHICAGO – As university faculties around Illinois strike for better pay and working conditions, budget analysts have found that state spending on higher education has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years.

When adjusted for inflation, state spending on higher education fell 46 percent between 2000 and 2023, according to a new research report from the left-leaning think tank Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

This mirrors a less extensive data analysis from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, which found that the buying power of 2021 higher ed appropriations is 55.5 percent of what it was in 2002.

“At this point, there has been such a decline and such an underfunding of the system, (the state) has essentially disinvested itself,” CTBA Associate Director for Budget and Policy Allison Flanagan told Capitol News Illinois.

In 2002, state funding accounted for approximately 72 percent of revenue for state universities, with the rest coming mostly tuition and fees. In 2021, 35.7 percent of university revenue came from the state, with 64.3 percent coming from fees, according to the report.

These effects are felt more acutely by low-income families. For families in the bottom fifth of income, tuition and fees for a 4-year public university represent at least 101 percent of that household’s income, according to the report.

One of the ways Illinois has traditionally combatted inequities in higher education accessibility is through the Monetary Award Program, which gives grants to Illinois students who demonstrate financial need. But the average amount of individual MAP grants has not kept pace with tuition.

In 2003, the average MAP grant was 47.9 percent of the average tuition and fees at a four-year university. Twenty years later, the average grant could only cover 19.4 percent of the average tuition and fees.

In recent years, however, Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration has increased funding for the program. In his latest proposed budget, Pritzker called for a $100 million increase in funding, which would represent a 75 percent increase from the year Pritzker came into office. Last year, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which administers the program, also approved a framework to increase the amount of each award.

 

Labor disputes

The long-term changes in state university funding have at least partially led to ongoing disputes between state universities and their professors.

As of Thursday morning, faculties at Chicago State University, Governors State University and Eastern Illinois University were all on strike. Faculty at the University of Illinois Chicago struck earlier this year.

While these strikes arose from unique negotiation breakdowns on each campus, one common theme has been university administration and faculty reckoning with a changing funding situation.

Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman released a statement Tuesday characterizing the disagreements between his administration and the union.

“That the administration has many high priorities is absolutely true and all of them are important — rewarding our outstanding employees, add staffing in vital operations’ areas, rebuild campus infrastructure and keep the campus beautiful, assist our students with the high cost of a university education, and remain financially stable,” Glassman said. “There are simply not enough university funds to tackle all of these areas except through balancing the amount of dollars going to each priority.”

Unease about budgets is also stalling negotiations at Northeastern Illinois University. The university’s administration and faculty have been bargaining since last summer.

“They’re claiming that they’re in such a budget crisis that they can’t give us anything,” NEIU’s faculty union president Nancy Matthews said in an interview. “Meanwhile the last couple of years of inflation has eaten away our salaries.”

NEIU faculty voted to authorize a strike earlier this week after nine months of bargaining. The faculty’s membership voted 95 percent in favor of the strike, with 90 percent of members voting, according to Matthews.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will,” Matthews said. 

Statewide union leadership has also pointed to long-term shifts in higher education funding as a driver in these strikes.

“This is what happens when you have 20 years of disinvestment in higher education,” Illinois Federation of Teachers President Daniel Montgomery told Capitol News Illinois when CSU faculty went on strike last week.

 

Future funding changes

Funding problems have attracted the attention of state lawmakers and advocates.

“There’s no doubt that universities have to contend with changing enrollment and funding,” Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, told Capitol News Illinois.  

Ford, who chairs the House committee that oversees higher education appropriations, said wages and programs are among the things that universities should consider changing as their budgets shift.

“Are these programs actually paying for themselves?” Ford said.

Long-term, the state is in the process of considering a fundamental shift in how it funds higher education. In 2021, the state created the “Commission on Equitable Public University Funding,” a body that will recommend a new method of funding universities.

Sarah Wasik is the lead author on the CTBA report and has been a technical advisor to the commission’s work. She said the commission is working on creating a “formula” for university funding, similar in nature to the formula used for state funding of K-12 education.

“We’re in a position to not only change higher education funding in the state of Illinois, but nationally,” Wasik said, noting that there isn’t a precedent for a funding formula in public higher education. 

“I can’t wait to see the findings,” Ford said.

A recommendation from the commission is expected in July.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Alumni Association members Heather Leininger, Emily Szymczak, Candice Mares and Miriam Cruz (at table) lead a crowd of LeaderShop alumni and community members waving posters saying Morals Matter, Demand Change, and Integrity for the Kids. (Photos by S. Kirchman)

LeaderShop alumni, board meeting turns testy at times

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy S. Kirchman The LeaderShop Alumni Association rallied under the pavilion at The LeaderShop office in La Grange for the board’s scheduled 6 p.m. meeting after it was switched from in-person to virtual earlier on Thursday. The Alumni Association consists of volunteers, previous staff members, former members of the board of directors, funders,…

Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who…

Neighbors

A statue from a monument lies on the ground at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

EF1 tornado barrels through Justice and Bridgeview

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan An EF1 tornado, packing winds of 90 miles per hour, swept through Justice and Bridgeview Monday night. Village of Justice Public Works Director Joe Cekus said he knew trouble was on the way. “I was looking in the sky for rotation and I heard a train,” he said. “I quickly…

Two pickup trucks in the 7400 block of Roberts Road in Bridgeview were destroyed by fire. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Bridgeview family loses two pickup trucks, but house is saved

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch A Bridgeview family in the 7400 block of Roberts Road knows first-hand the damage weather can do. When high winds hit around 9:30 p.m. Monday as a tornado blew through Justice, a cemetery and then into Bridgeview, two power lines were brought down near their bi-level house. One line fell…

Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois at Orland Square Mall on Friday. (Photo by Allie Baar)

Rihanna to open Savage X Fenty store in Orland Park on Friday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Barbados superstar Rihanna will open her first Savage X Fenty store in Illinois on Friday morning in Orland Square Mall in Orland Park. The singer, actor and businesswoman will open the store at the mall’s lower level near the Coach store at 10 a.m. Savage X Fenty will host a…

The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on July 13. (Supplied photo)

Palos Park encourages residents to unplug

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The Village of Palos Park encouraged residents to unplug their devices for a day at part of Unplug Illinois on Saturday, July 13. The day is a state-wide effort, started in 2014, to encourage everyone to “plug into” the amazing recreational opportunities offered by local park and recreation agencies. The…

Portillo's Hot Dogs (PRNewsFoto/Portillo's Hot Dogs)

Comings & Goings: Portillo’s coming to Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva After the Orland Park Village Board voted Monday night to allow for a special use program, it set the wheels in motion for a Portillo’s Hot Dogs drive through to be built at 20 Orland Square Drive, the site of the shuttered Denny’s. It will be a 3,305-foot square building…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that pre-concert problems caused by the weather on July 13 are fixable.
(Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor says Centennial Park West concert snafus ‘easily solvable’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The weather gods hit Orland Park’s Pat Benatar concert with their worst shot. A major storm took place July 13 when the event at the refurbished Centennial Park West was scheduled to open the gates. That caused a delay in opening the gates for 40 minutes which resulted in massive…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth approves $590,000 for street repairs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle A variety of projects ranging from street repairs and a new pump station for the golf course have been approved for the Village of Worth. A bid was awarded to Lindahl Brothers during the Worth Village Board meeting Tuesday night. Lindahl was the lowest bidder among four entries at $590,384.90 for future…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Alumni Association members Heather Leininger, Emily Szymczak, Candice Mares and Miriam Cruz (at table) lead a crowd of LeaderShop alumni and community members waving posters saying Morals Matter, Demand Change, and Integrity for the Kids. (Photos by S. Kirchman)

LeaderShop alumni, board meeting turns testy at times

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy S. Kirchman The LeaderShop Alumni Association rallied under the pavilion at The LeaderShop office in La Grange for the board’s scheduled 6 p.m. meeting after it was switched from in-person to virtual earlier on Thursday. The Alumni Association consists of volunteers, previous staff members, former members of the board of directors, funders,…

Cleveland Cavaliers guard-forward Max Strus hits a 3-pointer last season over the Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown. Photo courtesy of Max Strus

Hometown Hoops Hero: Stagg alum Max Strus discusses his rise through the NBA, hitting big shots and his annual youth hoops camp

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent A lot of changes have taken place for Max Strus during the past year. While the Cleveland Cavaliers guard has played in an NBA Finals and been featured as No. 1 on ESPN SportsCenter’s “Top Plays,” among other noteworthy events, the Stagg alum is the same homegrown kid who…