Governors State used to illustrate how costs, not funding woes, lead to tuition hikes
Illinois’ higher education system is stuck in a cycle of high administrative costs and high retirement costs that leads to increased tuition and fees for students, the Illinois Policy Institute said.
Among the examples the institute cited is Governors State University (GSU), which saw tuition more than double over the course of 10 years.
Ted Dabrowski, the institute's vice president of policy, and policy analyst John Klingner said GSU’s tuition went from $5,050 in 2006 to $10,246 in 2016, with an annual increase of 7.33 percent. Dabrowski and Klingner contend that these increases are not, as many universities have suggested, rooted in the state’s financial crisis, but rather in poor management throughout the state’s university system.
State universities have increased both the number of administrators and the salaries of top administrator positions. This has led to both high payroll costs for current employees and high pension costs for retired ones.
According to the report, as of 2011 Illinois had hit an administrator-to-student ratio of 1-to-45, with more than half of the state’s university administrators earning base salaries of $100,000 or more, plus bonuses. At GSU, President Elaine Maimon earns a base salary of $298,595, which is boosted to $368,395 through additional compensation and retirement enhancement.
Thanks to an annual cost of living adjustment for State Universities Retirement System pensioners, pension costs can easily reach seven figures over the course of retirees' lifetimes, the institute said. This has led to a majority of state spending on higher education going toward retirement costs, rather than operational costs.