David W. Tretter

David W. Tretter

Continue investments in independent higher education

Spread the love

By David W. Tretter

After so much uncertainty and so many challenges, this should be a time of hope and optimism for students attending Illinois institutions of higher education – especially the independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities I represent in Springfield.

For many, it is a time of looking to better days ahead. The Illinois state budget just signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker includes a dramatic increase in funding for the Monetary Award Program – the critical lifeline for so many needy Illinois students who can use the grant at one of the state’s high-quality independent colleges and universities.

GSWNH DavidTretter 050622

David W. Tretter

An increase of $122 million in the MAP grant program for lower-income students will mean the maximum award per student could climb above $7,000 – a significant increase over last year’s “effective” MAP grant cap of $5,340. This funding increase will provide for more MAP grants to eligible students at public or independent colleges and universities, at a higher average grant amount. As recently as 2018, almost 100,000 students who were eligible for a grant lost out due to funding shortfalls.

Millions of new dollars also will head to institutions to increase minority teachers, nursing education, and career training for health care workers. That’s vitally important, as the state’s independent colleges and universities award nearly 40 percent of all teaching degrees, as well as 54 percent of all health-related degrees.

Our federation has long called for steady, predictable and meaningful increases in MAP funding as a direct way to benefit all Illinois colleges and universities, public and private. When students have more aid, it greatly increases the chances they’ll not only attend higher education but successfully persist in getting a college degree, maximizing the state’s investment.

The return on this investment is massive, and doubly important as the independent colleges and universities in Illinois enroll more students annually than the state’s public universities. The graduates of these institutions live and work all across our state, pay taxes on higher wages, use fewer social services and are more civically involved in their local communities. The colleges and universities themselves have a huge economic impact throughout the state, employing more than 68,000 faculty and staff, while pumping more than $21 billion annually into the Illinois economy.

We are grateful to Gov. Pritzker, House Speaker Chris Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, and strong majorities in the Illinois House and Senate for putting some of the state’s recent good fortunes back into our higher education system. These decisions will reap tremendous rewards, just a few short years after the 2015-2017 state budget stalemate threatened to decimate our higher education system and the pandemic added another wallop.

With all of this unexpected good news, however, comes the sobering reality that our work is not nearly over. It is just beginning.

Two years ago, MacMurray College in central Illinois announced a devastating closure decision. Just a few weeks ago, just up Interstate 55 from Springfield, Lincoln College leaders made the same painful announcement.

There are many reasons: the state budget impasse, COVID-19, a decline in high school graduates. But I am concerned other schools – especially those like federation members MacMurray and Lincoln with so little margin for error – might face the same fate.

Higher education is at its core a highly competitive marketplace. Campuses must offer the best options, with the most flexibility, at the best price possible to maintain relevance in an increasingly global competition for students. Campuses have closed in the past because they could not compete anymore, and it will inevitably happen again.

My call to our state leaders is to build on the momentum from this spring session. Make continued, sustainable investments in our institutions and students. Give all Illinois colleges and universities the best fighting chance to continue transforming lives. We all win with a healthy system supported to do its best from Springfield. We’ll be right there working with you to make it happen.

David W. Tretter is president of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities in Springfield.

Local News

GSWNH_StarStudentEarnsScholarship_032423

Star student earns college scholarship

Spread the love

Spread the love St. Laurence High School senior Priscilla Bonilla stands with her family, minutes after learning she has earned a four-year academic scholarship to the University of St. Francis. In college, she plans to study theology and secondary education, with a hope to return to St. Laurence one day as a teacher. A West…

election day april 4 2023

Worth Park District asks voters to support parks

Spread the love

Spread the loveWorth Park District officials will ask residents on April 4 if they are willing to pay a little more to support facilities. The district will ask voters to approve a 0.2000 percent tax rate increase. If approved, residents would pay about an additional $5 per month for every $100,000 of equalized assessed value…

The OLCHS Contest Play team. (Supplied photo)

OLCHS, Richards Contest Play advance to state finals

Spread the love

Spread the loveBoth Richards High School and Oak Lawn Community High School Contest Play productions advanced to state finals March 24 and March 25 at Glenwood High School in Chatham after earning the title of Sectional Champions. OLCHS’ Mariana Salazar, Mariam Chuli, Melanie Cabrera, Jet Peleaz, Matthew Perry, Shawn Perry, Vasili Patrianakos, and Kathryn Fragapane…

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough is joined by Paul O'Grady (far right) and other elected officials to help recruit 1,000 Election Day poll workers. (Photo by Bryan Docter, Cook County Clerk's Office)

Yarbrough and O’Grady join elected officials to recruit Election Day workers

Spread the love

Spread the loveFacing a critical shortage of election poll workers, Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough on Tuesday joined Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady and Maywood Library Board Director Erica Sanchez to ask suburban residents to heed the call, help their local community, and get paid to volunteer as poll workers for the upcoming April…

Freshly shaved Stagg High School junior Oswaldo Macias, of Bridgeview, reacts as he watches his classmate Max Slanda, of Orland Park, gets his St. Baldrick's haircut at the Palos Hills school on St. Patrick's Day. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

At Stagg, bald is beautiful for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Dermot Connolly Students and staff at Stagg and Sandburg high schools raised thousands of dollars for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on St. Patrick’s Day, with many going all out and getting their heads shaved. Leah Ellis, a counselor at Stagg, has been coordinating the Palos Hills school’s participation in the annual fundraiser…

Jamie Hannion

Sterling Estates woman charged in death of 19-month-old son

Spread the love

Spread the loveA woman from unincorporated Sterling Estates in Justice was charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment stemming from an incident involving her 19-month-old son that started in October, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Thursday. On Oct. 17, Sheriff’s Police responded to a residence in the 800 block of Victory Lane in unincorporated Sterling…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that plans for a band shell at Centennial Park west have been in the works for 20 years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Centennial Park West band shell project ready to roll

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva A project that has been 20 years in the making finally is good to go. The Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees voted Monday, March 20, to give a green light to the Centennial Park West project. The revamped park will have a permanent stage to host three major…

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th) announces his endorsement of the mayoral candidacy of Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D-1st).--Supplied photo

Taking sides in mayoral race

Spread the love

Spread the love. Clearing, Garfield Ridge endorsements start to emerge By Tim Hadac While neither Paul Vallas nor Brandon Johnson has campaigned to any significant degree in Clearing or Garfield Ridge, their supporters—including several here in the neighborhood–are starting to go public. The latest endorsement to be snagged occurred last Friday, when U.S. Rep. Jesús…

Congressman Sean Casten speaks to a crowd during a town hall meeting in Orland Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Casten still learning the lay of the land in the south suburbs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Sean Casten is getting to know his new mayors. Casten, the Democratic Congressman of the revamped 6th District, has been spending a lot of time meeting 40 mayors in recent weeks after he was sworn into office in January. Casten beat out Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in the November…

election day april 4 2023

Court’s in session for Palos Park mayoral candidates

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Yes, they are lawyers. And they know how to give a closing argument. Longtime Palos Park Commissioner Nicole Milovich-Walters and Ronette Leal McCarthy are a pair of lawyers seeking the job as mayor to take over for John Mahoney, also a lawyer, who is retiring and did not seek a…

Neighbors

GSWNH_StarStudentEarnsScholarship_032423

Star student earns college scholarship

Spread the love

Spread the love St. Laurence High School senior Priscilla Bonilla stands with her family, minutes after learning she has earned a four-year academic scholarship to the University of St. Francis. In college, she plans to study theology and secondary education, with a hope to return to St. Laurence one day as a teacher. A West…

election day april 4 2023

Worth Park District asks voters to support parks

Spread the love

Spread the loveWorth Park District officials will ask residents on April 4 if they are willing to pay a little more to support facilities. The district will ask voters to approve a 0.2000 percent tax rate increase. If approved, residents would pay about an additional $5 per month for every $100,000 of equalized assessed value…

The OLCHS Contest Play team. (Supplied photo)

OLCHS, Richards Contest Play advance to state finals

Spread the love

Spread the loveBoth Richards High School and Oak Lawn Community High School Contest Play productions advanced to state finals March 24 and March 25 at Glenwood High School in Chatham after earning the title of Sectional Champions. OLCHS’ Mariana Salazar, Mariam Chuli, Melanie Cabrera, Jet Peleaz, Matthew Perry, Shawn Perry, Vasili Patrianakos, and Kathryn Fragapane…

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough is joined by Paul O'Grady (far right) and other elected officials to help recruit 1,000 Election Day poll workers. (Photo by Bryan Docter, Cook County Clerk's Office)

Yarbrough and O’Grady join elected officials to recruit Election Day workers

Spread the love

Spread the loveFacing a critical shortage of election poll workers, Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough on Tuesday joined Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady and Maywood Library Board Director Erica Sanchez to ask suburban residents to heed the call, help their local community, and get paid to volunteer as poll workers for the upcoming April…

Freshly shaved Stagg High School junior Oswaldo Macias, of Bridgeview, reacts as he watches his classmate Max Slanda, of Orland Park, gets his St. Baldrick's haircut at the Palos Hills school on St. Patrick's Day. (Photos by Dermot Connolly)

At Stagg, bald is beautiful for St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Dermot Connolly Students and staff at Stagg and Sandburg high schools raised thousands of dollars for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation on St. Patrick’s Day, with many going all out and getting their heads shaved. Leah Ellis, a counselor at Stagg, has been coordinating the Palos Hills school’s participation in the annual fundraiser…

Jamie Hannion

Sterling Estates woman charged in death of 19-month-old son

Spread the love

Spread the loveA woman from unincorporated Sterling Estates in Justice was charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment stemming from an incident involving her 19-month-old son that started in October, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced Thursday. On Oct. 17, Sheriff’s Police responded to a residence in the 800 block of Victory Lane in unincorporated Sterling…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said that plans for a band shell at Centennial Park west have been in the works for 20 years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Centennial Park West band shell project ready to roll

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva A project that has been 20 years in the making finally is good to go. The Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees voted Monday, March 20, to give a green light to the Centennial Park West project. The revamped park will have a permanent stage to host three major…

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th) announces his endorsement of the mayoral candidacy of Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D-1st).--Supplied photo

Taking sides in mayoral race

Spread the love

Spread the love. Clearing, Garfield Ridge endorsements start to emerge By Tim Hadac While neither Paul Vallas nor Brandon Johnson has campaigned to any significant degree in Clearing or Garfield Ridge, their supporters—including several here in the neighborhood–are starting to go public. The latest endorsement to be snagged occurred last Friday, when U.S. Rep. Jesús…

Congressman Sean Casten speaks to a crowd during a town hall meeting in Orland Park. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Casten still learning the lay of the land in the south suburbs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Sean Casten is getting to know his new mayors. Casten, the Democratic Congressman of the revamped 6th District, has been spending a lot of time meeting 40 mayors in recent weeks after he was sworn into office in January. Casten beat out Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau in the November…

election day april 4 2023

Court’s in session for Palos Park mayoral candidates

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Yes, they are lawyers. And they know how to give a closing argument. Longtime Palos Park Commissioner Nicole Milovich-Walters and Ronette Leal McCarthy are a pair of lawyers seeking the job as mayor to take over for John Mahoney, also a lawyer, who is retiring and did not seek a…