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March 27, 2006

University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign Senate

HE.06.08. Report on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Meeting, February 7, 2006.*

The BHE in a comparatively brief meeting at the Hilton Springfield Hotel took no action specific to UIUC except in the context of approving FY’07 budget recommendations.

In opening statements Chair Kaplan and Executive Director Erwin mentioned reconstituting an expanded Joint Education Committee.  The Faculty Advisory Council and Community College Advisory Committee spoke in opposition to community colleges offering the baccalaureate degree.  The FAC endorsed the budget recommendations as a step in the right direction but one that did not compensate for cuts of previous years.

The Board approved new units of instruction and degree programs for community colleges, public universities and independent institutions and operating authority for a few of the latter.

The Board endorsed a report of the community college baccalaureate access task force recommending that Illinois community colleges not be given authority to offer the baccalaureate degree at this time.  If done in the future, the report recommends only in specific instances to meet a workforce need that cannot be met through cooperative approaches with higher level institutions and if determined to be good public policy.
(A House bill authorizing Harper College to offer two baccalaureate degrees is pending.)

The major focus of the meeting was the BHE budget recommendations.  They recommended a 1.4% increase over the FY’06 budget including a 2.2% increase in the Monetary Award Program (MAP).  This would still reduce each aid award by 7% after the need-based amount is determined.  (Last year it was 9%.) Some additional funds were designated for freshman with high needs. UIUC was listed as receiving a 1% increase in funding; public universities as a whole were recommended to get a 1.1% increase. The increase was described as sufficient with tuition and fee income to produce a 2% boost in faculty and staff salary costs. A 1.9% increase was slated for community colleges.

A number of issues relative to the legislative session were noted with textbook costs  addressed in various ways and several measures related to affordability introduced.

Ken Andersen
FAC to the IBHE Representative