Two Illinois lawmakers explore adding another Big Ten university to the state

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Two Illinois state senators are introducing legislation to make another Illinois university a Big Ten school. They say it will keep tuition low and retain home-grown talent in Illinois.

According to state Sens. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, and Michael Connelly, R-Naperville, a third Illinois Big Ten university would reduce the amount of tuition dollars that leave the state with students who travel outside to schools within the conference.

Under Senate Bill 3526, a commission would explore the possibility of bringing an existing university into the Big Ten.

The commission would comprise a variety of individuals, including Illinois students paying out-of-state tuition to an existing Big Ten school, students who have left the state for another conference university and higher education professionals.

The bill passed the Senate Higher Education Committee March 19. A commission’s report would be presented to the General Assembly by the first of next year.

We should make it easier for these students to stay in Illinois, not look for greener pastures across state lines,” Murphy said.

Connelly added: “It is my hope this commission can find a way to deliver a higher education system that gives our young people the opportunities they seek at a price they and their parents can afford.”

Northwestern and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are the state’s only Big Ten universities. Of the nine states in the Big Ten, none has more than two conference schools. Indiana (Indiana University and Purdue) and Michigan (University of Michigan and Michigan State) also have two schools in the Big Ten.

Posted March 21, 2014

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