The bitter joke around Northern Illinois University runs, "we've gone from state-supported to state-aided to state-tolerated to state-located."  Illinois legislator Bill Brady responds with a change in state funding methods.
"What is really the genesis of this bill is that when I was the Republican nominee for governor, I obviously spent time with university presidents, public and private, and really found two things that we're really trying to solve here," he said. "One is that the public universities told me how burdened they were by regulations from the Legislature, as compared to their private counterparts. My personal position is that we really ought to look at this because it may be the only way some of our universities thrive. I'm not saying survive, but thrive. We need to give them tools that would allow them to do a lot of things they just aren't equipped to do now.

"It also would hold students more accountable," he said. "If you get a (Monetary Award Program) grant today and you just quit after your freshman year or flunk out, we've essentially wasted taxpayer dollars without any accountability. So what this does is it takes the same amount of money that we spend on higher education, which has been depleted, and invests it in Illinois students to go to a place and holds them accountable. And it offers them an incentive to stay in Illinois."
The state grants have been a sore point with the state-supported universities, as they are enough like vouchers a student can use at any institution of higher education in Illinois. But the legislators are more than a little worried about getting their money back.
Brady acknowledged that other Republicans have proposed less far-reaching reforms of the higher education system. Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet has a bill that would require MAP recipients to pay back the financial aid if they leave the state within five years of graduation. Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, proposed that MAP recipients have at least an 18 on the ACT or a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
What is it about legislators obsessing about keeping graduates in state, rather than providing an environment in which universities can compete for the best students irrespective of their locations of origin or of destination?  Furthermore, what incentives might these requests for repayment create: in particular, how much additional grade-grubbing will weak and marginal students engage in if they're facing an obligation to return their grants?  It's bad enough that some third world countries ship weak graduate students out under such terms, facing faculties with the choice of retaining a dismal student or creating a public charge.  Now let's make that universal?

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