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October 2, 2006


SPRINGFIELD – Latinos comprise the fastest-growing segment of the Illinois population. But, despite some notable progress, gaps persist in bringing Latino students into the full educational mainstream in Illinois.

That message will be the focus of presentations by two prominent Latino academic leaders when the Illinois Board of Higher Education convenes at the University Center of Lake County on October 9. Lake County, like other suburban areas, has experienced significant Latino population growth in recent years.

Sylvia Puente, director of the Metropolitan Chicago Initiative in the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Jorge Chapa, director of the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will address the Board on the needs, challenges, and opportunities in serving the Latino population.

The Latino population has grown dramatically since 1990, increasing by nearly 60 percent nationally. Latinos now make up 14 percent of the Illinois population, up from about 8 percent in 1990; in the Chicago metropolitan area, more than one in five persons is Latino.

The swift rise in population has brought new challenges to the education system, at all levels. Although trend data show some progress on state and national achievement tests as well as success in college, Latinos – like African Americans – continue to lag behind white students in measures of academic performance throughout the K-12 system and into higher education. In addition, as they climb the educational ladder, their numbers dwindle. In 2005, Latinos comprised 12 percent of public high school graduates, 10.3 percent of community college enrollments, 8.7 percent of undergraduates at four-year colleges and universities, and 4.2 percent of enrollments in graduate studies. The same pattern is true in degrees granted – in 2005, Latinos received 9.7 of community college certificates, 6.9 percent of associate’s degrees, 6.2 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 3.9 percent of master’s, 2.7 percent of doctorates, and 4.1 percent of professional degrees.

Ms. Puente and Dr. Chapa will brief Board members on the educational and cultural context of Latino students as well as issues of teacher training for diverse student populations, financial aid, ESL programs at community colleges, and effective practices being employed in other states to bolster Latino academic success.

In addition to the presentations, Board members will receive another informational item of note at their October meeting – the annual study of faculty and staff salaries.

The annual salary study found that the average faculty salary at public universities in fiscal 2006 was $70,800, up from $68,500 the previous year. Since FY2002, the average salary for public university faculty rose 10.3 percent, greater than the increase in Illinois per capita income (9.5 percent) but less than the Consumer Price Index for that period (11.7 percent). Overall, average faculty salaries were at 95.3 percent of peer institutions across the country, a slight dip from 2005 when the public universities were at 95.7 percent of the median salary paid by peer institutions.

The salary study also examined fringe benefits, finding that, on average, faculty receive $16,800 in benefits, or 83.4 percent of what peer institutions in other states compensated their faculty, primarily the result of lower retirement benefits in Illinois. Unlike Illinois, the study found, many institutions in other states contribute to Social Security in addition to participating in a state pension system for employees. Total compensation for Illinois public university faculty – salary plus fringes – averaged $87,600 in 2006, or 92.8 percent of peer group medians.

The average faculty salary at community colleges in fiscal 2006 was $60,000, which exceeded the median paid community college faculty in selected states by nearly 10 percent. Since FY02, the average faculty salary at community colleges has risen 8.3 percent, which fell short of growth in both CPI and per capita income in Illinois.

At independent institutions, the average faculty salary was $84,300 in FY06, or 6.4 percent above the median of salaries paid by peer institutions across the nation. The 13.5 percent increase in average salaries at private colleges and universities since 2002 exceeded the rise in both CPI and per capita income.


Don Sevener



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