14.9.19

CHASING THE PRODUCTIVE PEOPLE OUT.

That's part of what Illinois's Democrats do, with knock-on effects at Northern Illinois University.
After falling 560 students, NIU has reached its lowest fall enrollment since at least 1986, according to data released Wednesday.

The ten-day count of enrollment for this fall was 16,609 students. Fall 2018 had an enrollment of 17,169.

The university’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, a five-year, three-goal plan to increase enrollment, released in January 2019, projected a Fall 2019 enrollment of 16,748 students.
Why should this five year plan be any different from any other five year plan?

Headquarters, however, wants to go on with business as usual. "The administration’s plan projects enrollment growth starting next year, if recruitment and retention objectives are met."

I'm not optimistic.  The ominous signs have long been present.

This morning, Michael Smerconish took time out from the presidential debate follies to hold forth on the access-buying scandal and assorted other ills of higher education, including the supposed unaffordability.  Alas, I didn't catch the name of the guest, and the segment is not yet up on his channel.  The conversation proceeded along lines like these.
Flagship universities often have high graduation rates and good post-college outcomes for students, [policy researcher Mamie] Voight said, making them a good vehicle for social mobility.

But flagships "are not following through on that promise," she said, because they aren't providing affordable, accessible education for low- and middle-income students. This results in some students taking out large loans, working long hours while attending school and facing difficulty covering basic needs such as food, all of which can lead to poorer outcomes for the students. Other students may opt for a less expensive college with fewer supports, or forgo college altogether.
It's on the mid-majors and the regional comprehensives to prepare their matriculants for good post-college outcomes.  Mr Smerconish suggested it was also on the state legislatures to properly fund their state universities, something the Inside Higher Ed column also notes.  "Most states' funding for public higher education has yet to rebound from the Great Recession, which triggered tuition hikes and reliance on out-of-state or international students to balance budgets." It's been our experience in Illinois far longer than that.  He concluded by suggesting that it was up to the states to come up with the money, rather than the middle classes.  Unfortunately, that means relying on taxes, and it is the middle classes who pay a lot of the taxes, particularly in Illinois (and any other state heavily reliant on sales, excise, and property taxes, and on user fees such as tolls and the various items on utility bills) and the same people are being soaked, whether in higher tuitions and fees or in higher taxes.

Although I was not able to find Mr Smerconish's segment, I found The Role of State Policy in Promoting College Access and Success, and it's possible that my library privileges will get me a look at it for less than $48. Perhaps I'll look at it.  (For those of you who doubt my carping about third-party payments driving up posted prices in higher education, note that $50 will get you many a paper-bound all-color picture book covering a departed railroad.)

VERY LATE UPDATE:  The guest is Caitlin Zaloom, and the clip is now up.

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