Report: U of I shows biggest tuition jump -- blame pensions
The University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign (UIUC) is leading the state in some rather dubious areas that exemplify Illinois’ current higher education crisis, according the Illinois Policy Institute.
UIUC’s tuition and fees, executive compensation and pensioner benefits are among the highest of the state’s public universities, according to a report by the institute’s vice president of policy, Ted Dabrowski, and policy analyst John Klingner. UIUC’s average cost of tuition and fees jumped from $8,688 in 2006 to $15,626 in 2016, the highest figure for any public university that year.
In fiscal year 2014, the university paid then-Chancellor Phyllis Wise a base salary or $249,000 and additional compensation of $311,500, for a total of $560,500. High salaries like Wise’s have contributed to high pension payments for UIUC retirees; two of them are among the 10 highest-paid State University Retirement System beneficiaries, earning annual pensions of $414,871 and $379,213. Dabrowski and Klingner estimate that over their lifetimes, the pair could earn more than $2.4 million and $7 million, respectively.
The data show the factors that are truly behind Illinois’ higher education crisis, the authors say.
“The higher-education crisis has not resulted from Illinois’ budget gridlock,” Dabrowski and Klingner wrote. “Rather, skyrocketing pensions, bloated administrative costs and soaring tuition and fees for students have caused it. These are all self-inflicted wounds.”
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