Tuition breaks will hurt Illinois

December 15, 2013 

IT was recently reported that Southern Illinois University Edwardsville intends to offer the same reduced tuition rates of in-state students to non-resident students from seven nearby Midwestern states.

Now Illinois students pay $7,296 per year and out-of-state students pay $18,240. Neither of these rates begins to pay for the real cost of educating SIUE students when expenses of buildings, maintenance, staff and administrators are factored in. Now students from Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wisconsin will be using the same heavily-subsidized SIUE facilities as Illinois residents -- and at a cost less than half of what they are paying now.

Of course, more $40 million buildings, more salaries and shortages will result, and more tax money and subsidies will be declared as "critically needed and essential."

The purpose of the Illinois university system should be to offer a quality education and opportunity primarily to Illinois residents at reduced, Illinois tax-supported rates.

It seems SIUE leaders are intent upon achieving growth, regardless of cost to Illinois taxpayers, with what they call "geographical diversity." Using this same logic, would it be prudent to open the doors of Edwardsville public schools to students from seven surrounding counties? I think not.

Illinois has become a fiscal basket case and a national embarrassment with our tremendous debt, lowered credit rating and Detroit-style management of our resources.

SIUE is a fine institution; but in its desire to grow larger and faster, who is looking out for the Illinois taxpayer?

Everett G. Steele

Glen Carbon

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