U of I President B. Joseph White in Rockford April 18

Second-year president to discuss changing face of public higher education

University of Illinois (U of I) President B. Joseph White will address the changing face of higher education at a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 18, at Forest Hills Country Club, 5135 Forest Hills Rd.

White, U of I Foundation President Sidney S. Micek and U of I Alumni Association President Loren R. Taylor will participate in the reception and speak during a special half-hour program from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

Those interested in attending the event should make reservations to Rockford Area Illini Club (RAIC) Board Member Sam Darby at 815-885-3219. More information is available from the U of I Foundation at (217) 333-0810.

The event is presented by the U of I Foundation and RAIC.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is a $1.3 billion operation that serves more than 40,000 students annually. However, following a cut in state funding, the university is looking for new ways to generate revenue without squeezing out the middle class with tuition increases.

According to the article “High Noon For Higher Education” by Jim Dey in the March/April 2006 Illinois Alumni magazine, a good portion of the cut in state funding is due to Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s “decision to give a higher priority to increased spending for elementary and secondary education, rather than for higher education.”

The article said: “In the 1980 fiscal year, the Legislature appropriated 44.5 percent of the University’s $641 million budget, while student tuition represented 5.5 percent of University revenues. By the 2005-06 fiscal year, the UI budget had grown considerably, up to $3.5 billion—but the Legislature’s share had fallen to 19.9 percent of the funds, and student tuition had jumped to nearly 14 percent.”

Specifically, the article said a recent study ranked Illinois 49th in the country “in state appropriations for support of higher education.”

White, in his second year at UIUC, said in the article: “There’s an unmistakable message from Springfield. We’re on our own. We’re not betting our future on increased state support.”

According to the article, the university is “looking toward its students for higher tuition payments, to its faculty to attract greater research funds, to alumni for more financial support and to its own administrators for tough decisions that establish new priorities and make dollars go farther.”

UIUC is set to launch a fund-raising campaign in 2007 to increase the size of the University’s $1.15 billion endowment.

Meantime, according to the article, “White said the effects of underfunding are reflected in ‘100 different forms’—from the loss of valuable faculty members to other schools to higher teacher/student ratios to deferred maintenance needs estimated to cost $700 million to $800.”

About RAIC

RAIC is a social and service club for fans and alumni of UIUC. About 500 fans and alumni are members of RAIC, which serves the four-county region of Boone, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago.

For more information about RAIC, contact RAIC Board President Jerry Beger at 815-226-0824, e-mail the club at rockfordillini@hotmail.com or visit www.rockfordillini.com.

From the April 12-18, 2006, issue

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