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Illinois Budget Issues Impacting Colleges & Universities

Illinois hasn’t had a budget for almost two years, causing a major ripple effect in the state’s education sector. According to an examination released by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, reduced educational funding has forced state public colleges and universities to lay off employees, cut staff salaries, and end degree programs. In some cases, higher institutions have had to put staff members on furlough. With no state budget in sight, the situation has caused prospective students to look elsewhere for education, further decreasing enrollment numbers and the financial strength of Illinois colleges and universities. More on Illinois’ budget woes is available at the Nonprofit Quarterly website.

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College Tuition Discount Rate Close to 50 Percent

The National Association of College and University Business Officers’ (“NACUBO”) latest study shows that tuition discounts at colleges and universities are on the rise again. Due to low tuition revenue and weak enrollment numbers, the average tuition discount rate in 2016-17 for a first-time, full-time student increased to 49.1 percent (48 percent for previous year). Counting all undergraduates, the average rate increased to 44.2 percent (43 percent for previous year), marking new record highs for the annual study. NACUBO’s Ken Redd contributes higher financial needs since the Great Recession and growing competition for new students due to a decreasing number. Read More.

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College Freshmen Survey Reveals Political Division

Last fall’s incoming freshmen class is considered the most politically polarized in history. The latest American Freshman Survey revealed that over 42 percent of first-year college students said they were “middle-of-the-road” on political matters. This percentage marks the lowest percentage of moderate students in the survey’s history. In addition, 35.5 percent of students said they were either liberal or far left, while around 22 percent identified as conservative or far right. Over 137,000 full-time college freshmen took part in the survey. More on the American Freshmen Survey is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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Purdue Unexpectedly Acquires Kaplan University

In a surprising move Thursday, Purdue University purchased for-profit school Kaplan University for $1. The deal allows the Indiana-based school to acquire most of the credential-issuing portion of Kaplan’s higher education business. An estimated 32,000 students and 15 campus locations will be impacted by the acquisition, and Purdue says the new university will not receive state funds. While some experts believe Purdue will increase its access to students, others are concerned over the school taking on Kaplan’s reputation for questionable student recruiting practices and credentials. More on Purdue’s acquisition of Kaplan University is available on Inside Higher Ed. Also check out Cherry Bekaert’s Education Group for details on how. Read More.

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What Happened to Higher Education Support in Illinois?

While the majority of states witnessed an increase in public higher education support last year, the state of Illinois experienced a significant drop. A report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association revealed that educational appropriations for a full-time student in Illinois plunged 80 percent, from $10,986 to $2,196. In addition, public institution enrollment decreased by 11 percent. The decreases are being contributed to state lawmakers unable to agree on a budget and approving pared-down stopgap funding measures. More on the State Higher Education Executive Officers report is available on Inside Higher Ed.

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Full-Time College Faculty Members Get Pay Bump

The American Association of University Professors’ annual survey has revealed that full-time faculty members’ salaries increased 2.6 percent last academic year. According to the recent survey, the median salary for full-time faculty members at colleges and universities during the 2016-17 year rose to $80,095. In addition, full-time professors experienced the largest pay bump from last year, earning an average of $102,402. Other faculty receiving pay increases include associate professors and assistant professors, which earned $79,654 and $69,206 respectively in 2016-17. More on the American Association of University Professors survey is available on the Inside Higher Ed website.

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