|Bowman says, Obama's 'piece about affordability was alarming'|
|Written by Nellie Romanowski, Senior Staff|
|Wednesday, 20 February 2013 16:08|
President Barack Obama’s recent State of the Union address left many inspired, hopeful and energetic despite the serious economic issues clouding above the heads of Americans.
Obama’s pledge to be the change in bridging the gap between Republicans, Democrats and all Americans in between left some feeling united and prepared to take on serious political and economic issues.
But not everyone was left feeling ready to take on the slowly repairing economy, and many individuals recognized underlying problematic elements with Obama’s address.
ISU President Al Bowman, like many others, feels a disturbance about many of the short, yet abrupt attacks Obama made about higher education and the ways in which he plans to cut federal funding if significant changes are not made.
Bowman is concerned with several claims made during the State of the Union and feels that public institutions are backed into a corner, unable to readily solve the pressing issues at hand.
“[Obama] raised affordability issues in the past and it was not surprising to hear again, but was a serious point of disagreement considering affordability is largely driven by state support,” Bowman said.
“In my opinion, we have gone about as far as we can go without diminishing equality,” Bowman said.
Within the last ten years, the amount of federal funding provided to public state institutions has decreased from .34 per $1.00 to .18 per $1.00, leaving public universities within Illinois devastated and treading in thick waters to try and compete with other states adjacent to its borders, Bowman said.
“The piece about affordability was alarming because tuition prices at public universities are largely driven by state funding and
In order to continue to compete with other institutions in the Midwest, ISU has plans to offer current out-of-state applicants from states that are adjacent to Illinois with in-state tuition, matching many of the competitors’ strategies.
Until Illinois begins to fix its structural problems within its own system, there will be many underlying issues brewing in Springfield.
“It will take a lot of political will and courage to begin making serious adjustments because right now there is a lot of concern about the unknown,” Bowman said.
Not all was negative for colleges and universities and many of Obama’s points within his address provided a sense of relief.
“Obama has acknowledged the need for strong federal funding for research institutions, which is a huge positive because we benefit from those increases,” Bowman said.
ISU, like many other institutions, is given a significant amount of money per year to be directed toward research initiatives, many of which involve undergraduate students.
“The thing that I like about it is that it promotes the ideal university in which both research and learning take place in the same realm,” Bowman said.
Bowman is hopeful that over time with the slow re-development of the economy, higher education will be given an opportunity to address many of these critical issues and move toward finding a realistic solution.