- University of Illinois trustees Thursday lent their support to a new plan originating in the state legislature that guarantees public funding for its three campuses, in exchange for pledged performance in enrollment, financial aid and tuition freezes for the next five years.
- The Chicago Tribune reports on the new deal, which will infuse $662 million into the system in exchange for the schools admitting and enrolling more Illinois residents, guaranteeing an 87% retention rate for incoming freshmen, and maintaining a 72% six-year graduation rate. Additionally, schools would be required to commit more than 12% of state-funding to financial aid and to commit $15 million annually to scholarships for low-income and minority students.
- Non-performance could lead to adjusted appropriations, and non-funding from the legislature would deactivate the performance metrics for that corresponding year.
This could be a revolutionary approach to higher education funding, and one that all college and university systems should watch carefully. Illinois, a state which has harshly dealt with support for public institutions, has just brokered with schools to fund based on performance, which year to year, may be out of all campuses control, or could lead to enrollment and retention processes with less-than-desirable integrity to make numbers.
While all of the details aren't known, college leaders outside of Illinois should pay close attention to the metrics involved, to prepare for similar language or bill proposals coming to a statehouse near them.