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Researchers Say Higher Ed In Illinois Is Declining

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Dec 4, 2011 8:15PM

Photo by Merelymel13
Two researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have deemed Illinois as a state that no longer has a strong reputation for successful and progressive higher education goals.

The researchers, Laura Perna and Joni Finney (along with Patrick Callan with the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education) state that Illinois used to be a place where students sought out "affordable and accessible" college education, but now it is a state where fewer students are interested in obtaining a college degree. This study is particularly interesting as it goes hand-in-hand with all of the trouble that has been plaguing the Illinois education circuit. The less prepared students are for college, their chances of succeeding in college diminishes.

So, what's the matter with Illinois? Well, for the researchers, a lot of the blame for the decline in higher education is placed on the state government.

The study presses that one of the many reasons for the higher education decline is the "political corruption and political appointments in state higher education under former Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich." The analysis by Perna and Finney are not without merit, as the former president of the University of Illinois, Stanley Ikenberry, agrees with the researchers when discussing weakened focus on higher education in Illinois under Governers Ryan and Blagojevich.

While we are aware that not everything gubernatorial is up to par in Illinois, the fact that Illinois' shortcomings are becoming a national concern is definitely alarming.