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Simon dual enrollment plan could be financial hit to universities

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 14:57:52 CST
By: Willis Kern

Simon dual enrollment plan could be financial hit to universities One aspect of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon's education affordability proposals is to let students enroll simultaneously in community colleges and universities. She says this would enable them to transfer seamlessly while paying lower cost tuition the first two years. Jonathan Rosenthal, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education at Illinois State University, says some students are already doing this.

"It's a great combination of techniques that many students have discovered on their own. Should it be implemented widely in its entirety, yes I think students would be advantaged but, as I said, I think many students have independently discovered many of these techniques."

Rosenthal says one possible way to implement such an enrollment process would be to revise Illinois' Truth In Tuition law. Right now, universities are required to hold a freshman's tuition rate the same for four years. It could be expanded by applying the process to transfer students as they begin their community college stint.

"Obviously we're trying to keep the lid on tuition increases even given the declining state support but because that would be two to three percentage increases, we experience some financial impact that's for sure."

Rosenthal says that could lead to more students choosing an associates degree when that may not be their best option.

"For certain majors that are extremely sequential like the sciences and certain pre-professional programs, I think it may be advantageous for students not to do a full associate's degree and come to Illinois State quicker."

Rosenthal says letting university students enjoy lower cost tuition is an added hit for universities like ISU which he says already spends $30 million in institutional resources to make ISU more affordable.

Among Simon's other proposals is to grant tax waivers to graduates from Illinois schools who decide to work in the state.


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