Illinois Isn't Immune To Research Funding Woes At Universities

Oct 1, 2012

Declining state funding for major public universities has the National Science Board concerned about the ability of the schools to carry out engineering research, while also providing an affordable education to a broad range of students. The Board's latest report says Illinois is a prime example.

Seven states saw no decline in per-student funding of their public research schools  from 2002 to 2010.

Not Illinois.  A new study by the Science Board says Illinois' funding cut was the fourth largest in the nation.

The state gave 37 percent less to its main public research schools, Southern Illinois University and the University of Illinois campuses in Urbana and Chicago. Cumulatively, they're spending $7,500 a student. National Science Board member Ray Bowen says the cuts have long-term consequences.

"All these things are sort of in conflict with broader issue of making the United States, and thus making our individual states, internationally competitive in terms of their economic strength" Bowen said.

There are also effects that hit closer to home. U of I spokesman Tom Hardy says it affects the cost of attending a public university.

"Well, obviously the first thing you notice is affordability" Hardy said.

Hardy says tuition’s gone up 119 percent at U of I in the last decade. It's also having to increasingly rely on private donations.