Faculty Senate opposes cut to employee tuition waiver

Senate also hears update on enrollment numbers

The Faculty Senate is against proposed state legislation that would end the savings SIUC employees children can receive on tuition.

At Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, the group passed a resolution that insists state legislators do not pass House Bill 5531. The bill would eliminate the 50 percent savings children of state


Lisa Brooten, an associate professor of radio-television, reacts to a question Tuesday during the Faculty Senate meeting in the Kaskaskia Room at the Student Center. Brooten proposed to send Gov. Pat Quinn a letter stating the university’s opposition to Bill HB5531. The bill would not allow faculty’s children to receive tuition aid. Nathan Hoefort | Daily Egyptian

university employees can receive on tuition. Although the purpose of the bill may be to help reduce state budget constraints, the faculty resolution states the waiver may actually benefit the state by drawing more students to state universities.

In February, HB 5531 passed to the full house of the state legislature. The bill eliminates the decrease in tuition for children of Illinois state university faculty and staff who have worked at one or more universities for at least seven years. According to the website for the Illinois Education Association, which opposes the legislation, Rep. Luis Arroyo, who proposed the bill, said the state could save $387 million.

However, the Illinois Board of Higher Education estimates the cost savings would be about $8 million.

The resolution, which passed with a unanimous vote, states the 50 percent tuition waiver is a recruiting and retention tool for public universities. One of the reasons the faculty are concerned is because state universities may actually benefit from the tuition waiver, because it may keep children of faculty and staff in the state rather than attending private or out-of-state schools.

Before the originally-proposed resolution passed, the senators made changes to its wording, over which some members voiced concerns. Sen. Ken Anderson pointed out that the original wording of the resolution made it sound self-serving.

“It comes across as ‘we the faculty want our kids to get cheap education’,” he said.

Anderson said he did support the decision to show opposition to the bill since he has children who could be SIUC-bound in the future.

Faculty Senate President Bill Recktenwald said the amended resolution will be forwarded to the governor and many leaders in the state legislator, as well as local legislators.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Provost John Nicklow gave an update on enrollment. He said freshmen admission is up 5.5 percent and transfer admissions are down about 5.5 percent from this time one year ago. He said there are about 7,600 admitted freshmen for the fall of 2012, which he said is up from last year.

“So we’re making good progress,” he said. “It’s all about yield, getting the students here.”

Nicklow said the university is going to launch three new late-cycle strategies for enrollment, which could include having alumni writing letters to prospective students.

John Koropchak, graduate dean, gave an update on the graduate school, which he said was down in enrollment about .5 percent this spring, according to 10 day enrollment numbers. He said for counting students who enrolled late, enrollment has actually increased.

He said there has also been an increase in applicants for graduate school at SIUC, with a 16 percent increase in doctorate applicants and a 4 percent increase in masters’ applicants.  Still, he said, admission is lagging for graduate students.

“So if you can nudge your colleagues in your departments and colleges to speed up the admissions process, that could be valuable,” he said.

 

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