Education

Education and learning

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Higher education has been among the areas feeling the state budget impasse as funding has been cut.  It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees and, in some cases, close for several days.

But a review of enrollment indicates small and mid-sized public universities are taking a double hit.  

Dusty Rhodes/NPR Illinois

Commencement ceremonies took place on many college campuses this past weekend, including the University of Illinois, where a popular TV star spoke to graduates.

But the Black Congratulatory ceremony at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana was particularly unique. 

Diane Drake / WNIJ

Thirty current Northern Illinois University employees will lose their jobs next fiscal year as part of the university efforts to set aside $35 million in reserve for the next fiscal year, President Doug Baker announced Monday in a “Campus Update” email.

More than half the reserve fund -- $20 million – is being achieved through “increased support from the NIU Foundation and the re-examination of all university operating budgets,” according to Baker’s email. The remaining $15 million will come from “revenue enhancements” and cuts in various university divisions.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

NIU held a tribute concert Sunday to honor Cliff Alexis, who joined the university’s school of music in 1985.

Alexis helped establish steelpan studies as a major at NIU. 

He’s originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; it's where he started playing the steelpan at age 14.

“When I was young, most people gravitate toward the steel pan, especially coming from where I came from," he said. "I came from an underprivileged neighborhood, and that was one of the things to do.”

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois school districts in the East Saint Louis area are raising student fees and even considering a shorter school year as state education funding continues to be held up by the long-running Illinois budget crisis.

More than 400 Illinois school leaders statewide are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state legislature to pass a budget -- in addition to a lawsuit asking the state to give schools what they were promised.

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