November 29, 2004
PERFORMANCE REPORT GIVES PORTRAIT OF ILLINOIS HIGHER EDUCATION'S
SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES
SPRINGFIELD - Illinois higher education is performing well.
And can do better.
Those are the conclusions of the Statewide Performance Report to
be presented to the Illinois Board of Higher Education at its December
7 meeting at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
For example, the report notes that Illinois colleges and universities
produce a growing number of graduates in a broad array of fields,
thus strengthening the pool of college-educated individuals for
the state's workforce. However, it also worries that the higher
education system will be challenged to attract and retain the necessary
intellectual capital for the state to remain economically competitive
when Illinois ranks third in the nation in net migration of college
freshmen who leave the state to study elsewhere.
The Performance Report, first adopted by the Board in February 2003,
is an accountability mechanism that gives a detailed mural of success
and shortcomings, at both the state and campus levels. The report
examines institutional and state performance through the six goals
of The Illinois Commitment, the higher education strategic plan,
including the contribution of higher ed to the state's economic
well-being, student academic success, affordability, access and
diversity, and productivity. The specific indicators include such
measures as the number of college graduates in different fields
of study, research expenditures at doctoral institutions, percentage
of undergraduates receiving financial aid, the number of students
completing teacher certification, graduation rates, trends in ethnic/racial
college completions, and costs per credit hour.
The report highlights both strengths and challenges. For instance,
on affordability, the report states that "while the proportion
of Illinois students receiving some form of financial assistance
continues to grow, so does the cost of attendance relative to income."
And while grants and scholarships are being targeted to the neediest
students, recent trends reveal growing numbers of eligible students
denied aid due to funding constraints and rising college costs.
Similarly, the report notes that the number and diversity of students
completing degree programs has increased over time at all levels
and across all sectors of Illinois higher education. At the same
time, given the projected increase in the number and diversity of
Illinois high school graduates in coming years, all colleges and
universities will need to have in place strategies to ensure that
all Illinois students have an opportunity to succeed in their pursuit
of a college education.
The Statewide Performance Report contains a wealth of information
with specific, quantifiable measures for state performance as well
as institutional performance for all sectors of Illinois higher
At their meeting next week, Board members also are expected to act
on appointment of a program board to oversee the new Diversifying
Faculty in Illinois Higher Education Program. The new endeavor consolidates
two minority graduate fellowship programs with the goal of improving
placement of minority graduates in Illinois faculty positions.