State

Illinois public universities struggle with enrollment

Published:

SPRINGFIELD – Some Illinois lawmakers are looking to find solutions for higher education declining enrollment and financial concerns as more graduating high school students are enrolling out of state.

Figures from the Illinois State Board of Education show 46 percent of 2016 Illinois high school graduates who enrolled in a four-year university went out of state. That’s compared with 2002, when 29 percent enrolled in another state, The Bloomington Pantagraph reported .

Al Bowman, executive director of the state board and a former president of Illinois State University, said the state “has had a history of out-migration for many, many years.

“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 2016 and 2017 and higher education saw significant funding cuts.

Overall enrollment at the Illinois’ public universities is also declining. They dropped from 204,781 in fall 2009 to 188,405 in fall 2016.