Higher Education in Illinois urgently needs additional funding

After a successful K-12 program, higher education in Illinois should be the next focus of state education funding.

Higher Education in Illinois background

Recently, the state of Illinois has increased funding in its K-12 program and it instantly gained positive results. Student performance in the K-12 program has significantly increased urging legislators to add another set of increase in its yearly budget.

The state budget on K-12 level per student was at $4,557 in 2007, but it drastically increased to $7,503 per student in 2017. For the upcoming budget designation on education, an expected $350 million is to be spent on the K-12 level. The funding is intended to reach districts away from adequate state funding for the past few years.

The efforts to help build-up school districts in far-flung areas were a success. The number of poorly funded schools in 2017 was at 168, but in 2019 it has reduced to about 34 schools only.

With state funding for the K-12 level increased, the budget intended for higher education seems to decline. With an average of $7,276 per student from 2007, it has dropped into almost half at $3,636 per student in 2017. A huge fall that ranks the state at 45th in higher education budget allotment.

Cost of higher education in Illinois increased by 62%

Also taken into consideration is the inflation in cost for attending a 4-year college course. The cost of higher education in Illinois has increased by 62% from $8,641 to $13,970. Because of this inflation, the state had to limit its beneficiaries for a full state subsidy for higher education in Illinois. Less budget on college scholarships resulted in a decline of student enrollment from 896,000 in 2009 down to 747,000 in 2017.

Advance Illinois, founded by different sectors like business, education and civic groups from Illinois. The group was founded to serve as a watchdog towards an efficient education system to help prepare children in life by achieving successful education paths from kindergarten to college.

Advance Illinois urges legislators to put some more budget in higher education in Illinois and not focus solely on the K-12 level. The state needs more college graduates to help in filling in the workforce needed towards a more developed state. The K-12 level graduates have skillsets that can accommodate certain job industries, but college graduates bring in the workforce for specialized jobs more needed for the advanced industry.