Killeen presents Board of Trustees with new middle class financial-aid program
The Board of Trustees are now meeting after spending two hours in executive session.
Chancellor Robert Jones began by speaking about how the 150th celebration has promoted them to look back on the University’s land grant mission.
Jones said the College of Medicine has received accreditation from the Illinois Board of Higher Education recently and is still waiting to hear back from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
The Urbana campus also recently conducted an Illini Success report, tracking the success rate of finding jobs or other education opportunities after graduation. The report showed 80 percent of the 2015-2016 graduating class had post graduation plans within six months of graduating with an average salary of $57,031.
Jones spoke about Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, stating he knows he is not the first chancellor to make a plea to end the drinking holiday. He said he is reaching out to the entire campus community, including Champaign-Urbana to work together.
On March 3, Jonathan Morales passed away after falling off a balcony. This was the third death to occur on Unofficial. Jones said he offered his condolences to the family.
“It is not within our power to eliminate [Unofficial] completely without great participation and collaboration that requires all parts of the community and neighboring cities to change the idea of Unofficial from a harmless party because I think we would all agree harmless events don’t end with families attending a funeral,” Jones said.
As President Killeen kicked off his opening presentation, he was interrupted by around a dozen students from the Black United Front. Students chanted around the room “Stop the cuts, fund black futures.”
After about a minute of chanting, they left the room, as Killeen thanked them for their passion and said there are new programs attempting to increase minority retention.
The student-led campaign aims to increase recruitment and retention of black students at the University, stating only 6 percent of students from Spring 2017 are African American.
The University will propose dedicating state funding to provide financial aid to high school graduates in Illinois as part of a bill that would guarantee funding for the University in exchange for it meeting certain targets.
This plan is in response to increasing numbers of Illinois high schoolers leaving the state to attend college elsewhere.
The “Investment in Illinoisans,” or Triple I, program would guarantee $170 million annually to provide Illinois residents with financial aid. It will be added to the Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment, IPAC, bill, which would give the University at least $662.1 million annually.
UI President Timothy Killeen announced the initiative at Wednesday’s Board of Trustee meeting. He hopes it would retain Illinois students who are abandoning Illinois for states that offer more attractive financial aid programs, an issue which he dubbed as a “great concern.”
“We have a responsibility to do even better, and we have developed the plan we’re announcing to ensure we do better,” Killeen said.
Illinois is second to New Jersey in the number of students lost to colleges in other states. Students cite financial barriers in eight of the top 10 reasons they do not choose schools in Illinois, according to online surveys.
The Springfield campuses faculty union and allies from the Non-Tenure Track Faculty Committee at Urbana began standing at the Board of Trustees meeting with signs stating “UIS CONTRACT NOW!”
Trustees unanimously approve the regular agenda, which includes naming John Wilkin as interim provost and raising student health insurance rates 24 percent.
The meeting adjourned.
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