NIU needs some new ideas

NIU is caught in a downward spiral and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. Maybe it’s time for a new approach.

Tuition ballooned during the last decade at more than twice the rate of inflation while spending for instruction was essentially the same.

NIU President John La Tourette said the problem resulted from a bevy of state-mandated programs throughout the 80s, which the legislature absent-mindedly forgot to support.

A total of $3.6 million was cut from the budget throughout the course of this year and it looks like the cut will become permanent.

Next year doesn’t look any brighter, with tuition to jump by at least 4 percent and support from Springfield looking to be stagnant once again, if not less.

Cutting classes, limiting enrollment and skyrocketing the rate of tuition are not viable long-term solutions because they get away from the purpose of NIU—accessible higher education.

NIU and higher education need to come up with some new ideas.

La Tourette and many state legislators have suggested a graduated income tax. This would generate more tax dollars and address the inequality of the current state tax system.

Illinois Board of Higher Education Chairman Arthur Quern has taken higher education down the path of prioritization. This is an unpleasant step, but in light of the economy, it has to be done.

By coming up with new ideas, maybe NIU can stem the tide which threatens to bowl over the quality of education.