Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield
Vice President, University of Illinois
When my father, the son of an electrician and grandson of a miner in Spring Valley, Illinois, enrolled in a public university here in Illinois, it changed his life and the lives of his entire family forever.
A college degree today still has that power of change for both graduates and for the communities where graduates live and work. That’s because college graduates generally earn more, give more, and do more volunteer service than those without a degree. College graduates are also more likely to lead a healthy lifestyle, vote, and engage in lifelong learning.
As you may already know, UIS is a particularly wonderful place for students, including non-traditional aged students, to earn their degrees.
We have relatively small high-quality classes both on-ground and online that allow students to experience a genuine relationship with faculty members who are deeply committed to their teaching. We also provide outstanding opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom, engaging in community service, internships, and many other activities that enhance their educational experience.
Unfortunately, the cost of a college degree at the University of Illinois and everywhere has increased dramatically. When I attended undergraduate school,
- The cost was about $250 per semester. Today, $250 will not cover the cost of a single credit hour at the majority of public universities in Illinois.
- The state provided about 90% of the cost of my education. State support for the University of Illinois is now about 15% of the university’s budget.
- I graduated from college without any debt. Today the average student debt after completing an Illinois undergraduate degree is $18,500.
Many students do everything right to prepare for college. They study hard in high school and meet our admission requirements. The greatest barrier to their enrollment today is the cost. Given the economic constraints in many families, that barrier has become insurmountable for many prospective students who would use their degree to contribute to their communities and to the vitality of our state.
For more students to access our excellent University of Illinois degree here in Springfield, we need more scholarships. I intend to lead by example, and I invite you to join me by participating in the Access Illinois Scholarship Initiative.
With your help I know that we can make the valuable UIS experience available to all students who so deserve that opportunity.