The Truth about Higher Ed

By:  Diane Benjamin

The President of Northern Illinois University is just the latest to step down amid allegations of scandal.  The bigger scandal is what the Board is planning on paying him to leave!  Details of that soon.  Remember when ISU paid Tim Flanagan to leave – the day before he got arrested?

The Illinois Policy Institute wrote this report after Moody’s downgraded 7 Illinois Universities:

The lack of a State budget has little to do with why universities are in financial trouble.  In 10 years ISU raised tuition 93% to cover the exploding costs of administrators.  Educating students appears to be an afterthought.

Quote from the article:

But total state funding to higher education has increased by more than 60 percent over the last decade, growing to over $4.1 billion in 2015 from $2.5 billion in 2006. Unfortunately, a majority of that money has gone toward administrative salaries and retirement costs, not classroom instruction.

The article claims Illinois lost 150,000 students to other states since 2000.  Look at the salaries and pensions listed in the story.  It’s not hard to see why.

Illinois is due for a huge reset.  Medicaid will be cut to pay for pensions since the courts have ruled pensions can’t be cut.



29 thoughts on “The Truth about Higher Ed

  1. And Normal is totally dependent on the ISU for its economic survival now. I’m sorry, they have the new car maker who will soon be building thousands of cars to compete with brands like Tesla and Volt…LOL and if you believe that you most like think Mayor Koos is an economic genius leading Normal to prosperity for decades to come.


  2. Flanagan’s payout of his contract was better than the deals UIUC gave (tenured faculty positions making obscene amounts of money) to their fired administrators. Would you rather do a one-time $450,000 payout to make someone go away or keep that person on as a tenured faculty member and pay them $300,000+ per year for as long as they want to work and continue building pension years and $$$? I would prefer neither, but if I had to choose, the one-time payout is a much better option to just get them out the door.

    I agree with you about the exploding costs of the number of administrators and their salaries. I wish instead of firing janitors and lecturers (low-cost non-tenured professors) that they could let go of some administrators. How about getting rid of five administrators making $100,000+ each than five people teaching classes at $35,000 a year?


      1. Unfortunately, that type of clause is not something a misdemeanor would qualify to invoke, it would have been very extensive litigation to contest that and then likely lose. If he was convicted or pled to a felony, that would have been a different story.

        Considering the Flanagan buyout and what UIUC administrators got, which of the two (evils) would you prefer?


    1. Education is a not a priority anymore. I went to ISU in 1970. We seemed to get by pretty well without fitness centers and dozens of highly paid administrators. I paid for my school working at a tire factory during the summer and working in the food service at ISU. I made a $1.10 an hour at the food service and had to save every dime to get by. It was work and school for me. Education is now just one part of the college experience. There were two parts to my college experience: education and work. FYI – I had no debt at the end.


      1. ISU needs fitness centers because CT provides bus service to get around campus, such as from the parking lots. Young people can’t walk from the parking lot on North Main? Where is their environmental sensibility-their concern for climate change?


  3. Not to mention the number of college kids taking Aderall etc. so they can “focus.” THe times they are a changin’ and it ain’t for the better.


    1. ISU isn’t “going bust,” contrary to what a few might believe. However, Koos’ bike sure should!! I see these bikes sitting on campus for weeks, and they haven’t moved…


      1. The student debt/loan bubble will burst – enrollments will drop and ISU and many other colleges with no cost controls and Junk financial ratings will close. FYI – the way education is being delivered is changing dramatically. Technology is has already made “brick and mortar” class rooms obsolete. ISU will become a museum on how people used to be educated.


    2. You should do some research, technology isn’t as great for education as you might think. But if you think we’re going to become a “museum,” more power to ya.


      1. Online education isn’t going to kill any reputable school, plain and simple. Actually, the price is about the same, if not a little more, in Indiana, Missouri or Iowa. Bit, I agree, as an employee if ISU, and. Parent, I will advise my kids to go out of state, until Illinois pulls it’s head out of its ass.


      2. Right? Can you tell me about Moocs? So have you been to Blockbuster video store to get a video lately – brick and mortar education is not going to exist in 10 years or less –


      3. Yes, I’ve taken several Mooc courses, they where near the level you get in a classroom, even the professors teaching them.will.saybtht. they are.good for getting a quick credential or.skill, but not a degree. The will never replace a brick and mortar institution.
        “Experts” have been saying “brick and mortar education is not going to exist in 10 years or less ,” since the mid 90’s…


      4. Believe what you want… the future will not contain 30 students sitting in a classroom being taught by a human. They will be taught remotely with technology and by AI.


      5. No idea what you are talking about here? I do have a short piece that you can buy on Kindle (sorry no dead trees) The End of Bloomington-Normal as We Know It – perhaps you take the time to read it. It addresses the demise of ISU. FYI – I don’t dispute scientific facts…. Perhaps reading someone like Ray Kurzweil would be beneficial for you? Start with this one: The Age of Intelligent Machines – once you read some of his works and understand what he has done, what he predicts and what he is currently doing – get back to me. Here is a link to start to understand what I know:


      6. I’m not an expert in climate science, but I take the word of experts in that field, you know, because science! I would say a computer scientist would take issue with your comment on computer modeling.


  4. Our world is changing at an exponential rate – we all see it – we all feel it – If I told anyone 5 years ago that Eastland Mall would see 7 store closings in less than eight months- would anyone have believed me? No, it would seem out of the realm of reality at the time right? We are not used dealing with change that is now exponential. We are used a slow upward linear rate of change. The rate of change (driven by technology) resembles a hockey stick now. This is not easy to comprehend and for some it is impossible for them to comprehend (you know who you are). It has been estimated that we will experience change in the 21st Century equal to the last ten thousand years before the beginning of the 21st Century. Does anyone think that the way we deliver education will just magically stay pretty much the same? We are at the beginning of the Age of AI (don’t take my word for it, Google it) and massive changes will be coming as result of AI technology. AI Chatbots will soon be doing customer service everywhere and replace hundreds of thousands of people answering phones today. Download on your smart phone, the Lemonade app. An AI Chatbot does all the communication with you and it is impossible to tell it is a machine. Yes Lemonade (an high tech insurance startup) just broke the world’s record for paying a property claim… it was paid in 3 seconds. Don’t take my word for it – look it online. In five years will the same number of people be working answering the phones at State Farm? You tell me? We truly need to get ready to expect the unexpected. And we need to prepare ourselves for a world that in just a few years will be vastly different than the world we see today.


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