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Quinn signs bill that ties college funding to student success 


Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus
August 12, 2011
By Dawn Neuses

MOLINE -- Gov. Pat Quinn, in a ceremony at Western Illinois University here, signed a bill that makes student success a formal factor when the state allocates money to public colleges and universities.

House Bill 1503 was goes into effect in fiscal 2013. "We need to make sure our investment in higher education results in good outcomes," Gov. Quinn said.

Every year public colleges and universities submit a budget proposal to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The state board works with the college and universities to make any changes, then the board presents the budgets to the governor's office and General Assembly for approval, said George Reid, the board's executive director.

Starting in 2013, the Board of Higher Education will make budget recommendations for each college and university based upon how well each institution did on individualized performance standards, Mr. Reid said.

Those standards will be related to student success, certificate and degree completion, maintaining the quality of degree offerings and rewarding institutions that advance the success of students at-risk academically or financially.

"It is an exciting time to be an educator," Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said. "We have a lot of passion to do a better job in education in Illinois." Lt. Gov. Simon a strong supporter of the bill, also was at the signing.

She said now, only 41 percent of the workforce in Illinois holds a college degree or certificate. The state's goal is to hit 60 percent by 2025. "We want to expand the pool of qualified, educated people in Illinois," Lt. Gov. Simon said.

"We are grateful to Gov. Quinn for signing a bill that makes higher education a priority in Illinois," Mr. Reid said, adding it will strengthen Illinois economic well-being.

Geoffrey Obrzut, president/CEO of the Illinois Community College Board said unemployment is hovering around nine percent and the focus higher education, and the new legislation, is to help students and graduates compete in a global marketplace. "We are obligated to perform well for them," he said.