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Student Exodus Growing Under Rauner: State of the State is Worse

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Herald & Review Finds More Illinoisans Going to College Out-Of-State

Illinois was already losing people to other states. Now, a troubling new report out this week is detailing how the state is losing students, too. The Herald & Review published “Losing the Future,” which calls into question just how much long-term damage Governor Bruce Rauner’s policies have done to the state’s economic future:

“The pace at which Illinois high school graduates are leaving the state to attend college is accelerating at the same time most public universities are struggling to maintain enrollment — and that has state higher education officials worried.” 

According the Herald & Review’s troubling report, 46% of Illinois graduates are headed out-of-state for a four-year degree, compared to 29% in 2002. Enrollments at Illinois higher education facilities have dropped 8% in the past six years.

And Bruce Rauner shoulders much of the blame. Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Al Bowman noted the out-migration accelerated “during recent years, particularly during the budget impasse.” The News-Gazette also looked at Eastern Illinois University this week and found the school was still “reeling” from “deep cuts and sweeping layoffs” caused by the budget impasse; EIU also saw a 20% drop in enrollment over the past three years.

Rauner often touts higher education as a strength of Illinois’ economy, but his actions tell a different story.

“Bruce Rauner has failed to grow jobs in the present, and now his policies are threating job creation in the future,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Rauner’s two-year budget crisis devastated the state’s higher education system and now more kids are leaving the state to get their education. The state of the state is worse under Bruce Rauner’s failed leadership.”



Illinois Public Colleges And Universities Reduced Enrollment By 72,000 Students, And Eliminated 7,500 Jobs During The 2 Year Budget Impasse. According to the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, “The two-year Illinois budget stalemate reduced enrollment in the state’s public colleges and universities by more than 72,000 students, eliminated nearly 7,500 jobs, and cost the Illinois economy nearly $1 billion per year, according to a new study released today by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) and the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.” [Illinois Economic Policy Institute, 9/7/17]

The Number Of Students Leaving Illinois For A Four-Year Degree Increased From 29% To 46%. According to the Herald & Review, “Forty-six percent of the members of the high school class of 2016 in Illinois who headed to four-year schools enrolled out of state, according to figures from the Illinois State Board of Education. That compares to 29 percent in 2002. ‘Illinois has had a history of out-migration for many, many years,’ Bowman said. ‘The difference is it has accelerated during recent years, particularly during the budget impasse’ when the state went without a full-year budget in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and higher education saw significant funding cuts.” [Herald & Review, 2/5/18]