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More Graduates = Greater Rewards 

(WIUM 91.3FM) - Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon believes state universities should be rewarded for turning out more graduates.

She made the comment while addressing a Senate higher education committee this week in Springfield.

State money goes to universities based on enrollment figures, but Simon said a better way would be to base their funding on graduation or retention rates.

Simon said the way lawmakers determine which universities are succeeding needs to be flexible.

"We want to improve graduation rates. We also want to acknowledge that people come into the higher education system with a variety of goals," Simon said.

"For some people it might be a four year degree. For some people it might be an associate's degree. For some people it might be a one year certificate in welding, and we want to encourage completion of those academic goals."

Simon taught at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, which is a school that has experienced declining enrollment.

Some people question whether such a measure would cause universities to deny enrollment to at-risk and low-income students. Simon assured lawmakers that a funding overhaul would include protections for students who might not be fully prepared for college life.