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Local Kids Being Crowded Out By International Students

Are F1 VISA international students crowding out Illinois kids at state colleges and universities? Illinois is already lagging behind only New Jersey in college-bound out-migration. Should there be a prioritization for families of students who are paying taxes in Illinois? Are universities in Illinois able to offer any incentives for excellent students here in our own state? Dan and Amy discuss the future of Illinois universities and how they have not been inclusive to Illinois residents. 

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Proft: Good morning, Dan and Amy. So, you know, the history of land-grant colleges in this country is an interesting one. I mean back then, then Morrill Acts of the 19th century that gave rise...I mean a lot of it was to move colleges from just teaching the classes to practical skill instruction, agriculture, science, and engineering. It was also to make college more accessible to more families. So you didn’t have to be wealthy to attend college, right? Well, that’s why this little look see that we did at PrarieStateWired.com, which is one of my outlets, PrairieStateWire.com, we looked at the number of F1V...F1 Visa students...at Illinois’ public colleges and universities. So, foreign students who are attending Illinois public colleges and universities. It turns out to be a fairly big number...and by the way, this is not a discussion where we think “Oh, we shouldn’t have foreign students, we shouldn’t have F1 Visas.” That’s not the issue...the issue is the percentage, the issue is are we seeing a crowding out effect at places that are in high demand for middle income families to send their kids, even higher income families to send their kids. Like U of I, where you can’t get in because U of I is focused on F1 visa students...number one paying full freight… Jacobson: Well, that’s how they make their money, right? Proft: Well, they actually get a good portion of their money from the state, right? I mean, Illinois provides...the state provides twice the per pupil support of the national average to our public colleges and universities. Significantly higher than the state support for conference peers in, let’s say, the Big Ten. Or the MAC, for that matter...the MVC. I mean...so, just look through the numbers a little bit. University of Illinois at Springfield, U of I System, 34% of its total student enrollment are international students. Jacobson: That’s a lot… Proft: U of I, 27%. And then it goes down significantly from there, Chicago State 13%, U of I...UIC U of I, Chicago, 12%. Governor State, 11%. SIU, 10%. Eastern, 9%. Northern, 9%. Western, 7%. And so on. And overall in the state, there are 25,114 international students out of 189 thousand and change that are enrolled, so that’s about 13.2%, but at our flagship...really our flagship university is U of I. Jacobson: Right. Proft: And 27% in Champaign, and U of I in Springfield, 34%. And UIC, 12%. Do you have a problem with that at all? When Peyton and Eli, when they decide to go to U of I, or if they decide to go to U of I, and you know, you potentially get crowded out by...you know, I don’t want to make this one foreign student vs one Illinois family. But remember the mission of the Illinois Land Grant University, and remember who’s paying the freight, significant portion of the freight, well beyond the tuition that you’re going to pay for ANY child in any given four-year period, I don’t care where you’re from...should that provide some…*pauses*...prioritization for Illinois families? Isn’t that why we HAVE Illinois colleges and universities, to provide some prioritization for those that, you know, meet the academic standards, but are not being crowded out by students from around the world? 312-642-5600, Turnkey Dot Pro Answer Line. 64636DA Turnkey Dot Pro Text Line. And it’s worth noting that Illinois is right there with New Jersey with leading the nation in out-migration of college bound high school seniors. So we’re losing our best and brightest… Jacobson: Well, I gotta tell you, I recently emceed an event with high school seniors, and they told me “NO ONE’S going to U of I, that’s not the cool school to go to, and they cater to foreigners anyway!” That’s what one student said to me! And I just like, well, what, they don’t care about us, even? They just want to, you know...they just care about people from other countries. So it’s very strange. And I don’t know a lot of people who are still, you know...because normally at this time of year people tell you, you know, what schools they’ve applied for, and not one mention of U of I. And they’ve produced wonderful people, Steve Chen...invented the YouTube…*laughs* THE YouTube...THE Instagram…*laughs*... Proft: Okay...okay, old lady. Jacobson: But I’m just saying, they’ve had very distinguished and established alumni from U of I, but it’s not the cool place to go, which is… Proft: I mean, did YOU apply to U of I? Jacobson: No, no… Proft: No. No chance to get in. Is that why? Jacobson: Umm...you know, the ink in the pen ran out...when I was filling out my application? Proft: Yeah, sure! Couldn’t afford the application fee, because you were a poor… Jacobson: Let’s just say...I kept it real and went to the University of Iowa. Proft: Open enrollment school! Exactly, University of Iowa, and… Jacobson: Michigan State...ASU….which IS the Harvard of the West… Proft: Well, it’s the Harvard of the SUN BELT, let’s not go “West”. Sun Belt...yeah, okay, Phil Mickelson. Umm so, here’s the thing. It’s interesting because of the number of kids who are going to Big Ten schools NOT named U of I. Now, that can be a CHOICE, you know, it’s more fun to be in Madison or… Jacobson: Yeah you know, U of I, the campus is too spread out, or the sports teams stink… Proft: Yeah, and I mean you know there’s a lot of competition too, Indiana has a really good business school, for example. But U of I is still a top engineering school in the country, U of I still provides a pretty good college education, I mean to the extent that anybody provides a good college education these days, that aren’t named Hillsdale or University of Dallas or something. Jacobson: And it’s still impressive on your resume, I think, to say you graduated from University of Illinois. Proft: Well, and the other thing I think too is remember, part of college is networking. So, it’s not just networking among your students, but it’s networking among your alumni, in, you know, a lot of U of I alumni in Chicago, and in the midwest, but particularly in Chicago. So, in terms of making business connections, that networking, that’s a real thing. So is it problematic that such a percentage of the student body are foreign students? Now, I don’t know, I don’t have a magic number on what the percentage should or shouldn’t be. I just want to have the discussion because who’s paying what the original mission is, and who is otherwise deriving the benefit? Harry in Hawthorne Woods, you’re on Chicago’s Morning Answer. Harry (Caller): Good morning, guys. Yeah, I put three kids through school, all out of state. You know, one Clemson, one University of Kentucky, one University of South Carolina, and one’s in Med School, University of South Carolina. It’s impossible for kids...well it’s not IMPOSSIBLE...but even with her academic prowess, her 3.85 from Clemson, and relatively high MCAT score, couldn’t even get in in a Med School in Illinois! And thank goodness, because you got in a BETTER school, in the University of South Carolina. But if you’re...it’s because they’re taking all these foreign grads, everybody’s from China or India or you know, there’s no preference given to Illinois residents here. And unlike many other states, which DO give preference to residents. Proft: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. Harry (Caller): Illinois is bass-ackwards on just about everything you could think of. Proft: Mmhmm. Thanks for the call, Harry. Appreciate it. I mean, the thing is, you want it to be a meritocracy, you want our colleges and universities to attract the best and brightest from around the world, you want the best brains from around the world to come to America, which has always been our history. So I don’t want to make this about like immigration or about...the others...or anything like that. That’s not what this discussion is. The discussion is should there be a prioritization for people that are paying the freight for a lifetime of residency in Illinois? You know, all else being equal kind of thing. That’s the question. And remembering the mission of land grant universities, which the federal government provided the land for states to be able to...you know, advance the creation of these colleges and universities. Annette in New Lenox? Annette (Caller): Good morning! Proft: Morning. Annette (Caller): My daughter goes to the University of Alabama. She was the salutatorian at Lincoln Way West, she had a 35 on her ACT… Proft: Wow… Annette (Caller): She would not have gotten a DIME from any Illinois school, we did not even let her apply. There were nine kids from her graduating class that ALL went to Alabama because they all get ZERO tuition, full tuition, anything over a 32 at Alabama. And Alabama is a Right to Work state, their business there is increasing, Mercedes is building...expanding their plant there, because they’re bringing in top students. Proft: Just tell her to stay away from Roy Moore. Jacobson: No, hey...no, cmon… Proft: No no, sorry, Annette, sorry… Jacobson: And sorry Annette about that loss to Auburn… Proft: Appreciate the...well, yeah. It’s interesting that Annette from Lenox Springs brought that up because I hear that more and more about Alabama, and Alabama heavily recruiting in the Midwest to bring… Jacobson: Oh yeah, yeah! So is Ole Miss. Proft: ...SEC schools like that, and especially Alabama since they’ve generated so much cash from their football program, that they can do exactly what Annette said; take these high-achieving students and say “Come to Alabama, and we’ll cover the freight.” You’re going to Alabama like an athlete, but you’re, you know, a student. You know, your academic… Jacobson: You’re a rock star academic! Proft: Right, your academic prowess. Jacobson: And other schools too, Ole Miss...if you go Missouri you get in-state tuition, if you go to Ole Miss...I mean there’s so many different angles you can take, where you can get the in-state tuition in other...states. And then dress up for your football games. Proft: Yeah, and...yeah. But that example was a good one because she had this salutatorian, 35 on ACT, so this is obviously a boat… Jacobson: YOU didn’t even get a 35 on your ACT! Proft: You don’t know what I got on my ACT. Jacobson: Oh wait, you can...pipe down there, Missy! I can tell you one thing...I did NOT get a 35 on my ACT. Now I KNOW that might be hard to process, Dan…but we didn’t... Proft: Well, you did in the sense that when you took it twice and combined the scores… Jacobson: *laughing sardonically* Oh...ho ho ho...thank you. Yeah...too soon. Proft: Yeah. So why wouldn’t U of I be looking for this girl from New Lenox, 35, Salutatorian at Lincoln Way? Jacobson: *doing old stuffy accent* “Because she’s not Asian…” Proft: No, I don’t want to make it like that, but… Proft: I just think that is part of the problem! Jacobson: You just think they’d want somebody talented from their own backyard! Jacobson: This is...what they’re doing...they’re gonna...trust me...it’s gonna….their enrollment is gonna go down. Proft: And here’s the other thing, that Annette didn’t get to, but it’s consistent with what she said about U of I not offering her daughter any incentive to come there, despite her academic record. Also, despite and because subsidized universities had twice the per pupil rate of the national average, in-state tuition for Illinois families to go to places like U of I, and the other schools, is significantly higher, like 25 to 50 percent higher, than in-state tuition in the Midwest, for families in other Midwestern states, to go to their conference peer. So compare U of I to Indiana, compare U of I to Iowa, or Madison, right? Jacobson: Or Minnesota, yeah. Proft: And it’s the same thing at NIU, compare that to other MAC teams, compare Illinois State to other MVC teams...schools...teams...you know what I’m saying. Ralph in Rantoul. Ralph (Caller): Hey, good morning. I was an undergrad at Purdue, got my chemical engineering degree from there. And we had plenty of foreign students, Asian students. And I remember, even as an undergrad, you just kick butt. You just kick the Asian students butts and then half an hour later, you’re hungry for more winning! Proft: *laughing* Okay! Okay, “The Donald”! Ralph (Caller): But on a more serious...yeah, on a more serious note, I teach now as an adjunct, I brought that up a couple of times before, and I think there’s a different KIND of Asian student coming in now, they’re the B-team students. Because they really want to get into the prestigious universities in their own countries, except if it’s you know Harvard, Yale, kind of name, if they’re just branded institutions. But, more seriously, if our kids graduating high school now can’t compete with the rest of the world’s B-team, we got problems. Proft: Yeah, no question about that, no question about that, and thanks for the call Ralph. That’s part of the discussion, too. The percentage of students that are going on to college, which is 1 in 3, round...rough numbers, and who need remediation. Talk to community college presidents, talk to university presidents, and they will tell you it’s a significant percentage of students that require remediation. In other words, the ones going to college and they’re not prepared to do college-level work, because of what happened at the K through 12 level. Carol in Paxton. Carol (Caller): Hi, my comment is that I live about 30 miles north of Champaign, they want the foreign students because they pay full rate dollars, or...tuition. Don’t listen to any sob stories coming out of Champaign about how they’re short on money, they are awash in money. And you can tell by the various administrative salaries. Proft: Yeah, no question about that, thanks for the call Carol. No question about that, and we’ve published the numbers there, too, absolutely. Bob in Buffalo Grove. Bob (Caller): Good morning, Dan and Amy. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Proft: You too. Bob (Caller): You kind of addressed my question a few callers back, in regards to the tuition. It’s now I think over $100,000 for IN-STATE tuition, so I know a lot of people are looking out of state. It’s kind of...I mean, how can you afford it? $100,000 for a 4-year degree at an in-state school? Proft: Thanks for the call, Bob. John in...excuse me, Mike, in Downers Grove. Mike (Caller): Hi there Dan and Amy! I’m a multi-generational... I’m an Illinois grad, my wife’s an Illinois grad, both our parents are Illinois grads, we’re related to a former U of I president. Both my kids went out of state, despite the fact that my son DID qualify for a free ride at Illinois, you can get better deals if you’re a quality student and shop elsewhere. Okay, so in other words...and you can get a better deal with grant money, if you’re good and you want to go to private schools, if your goal is not coming out of school with a whole bunch of money and coming out with a quality degree. Proft: Whole bunch of DEBT, yeah, yeah. Jacobson: Where did your son end up going? Mike (Caller): My son went to Princeton for undergrad, and MIT for a PhD. Proft: *laughing* Woah-ho-ho… Jacobson: *imitating* “I don’t mean to BRAG, but...yeah…” Mike (Caller): Well hey now, I’m a MORON, there’s a variety, if you’re wanting a fight, I will… Proft: Ah, it skipped a generation, eh? Jacobson: Where’d your daughter go? DePaul did you say? Proft: Yeah it SKIPPED a generation! Mike (Caller): DePauw, with a W, in Green Castle, Indiana. Proft: And then where’d she go to get her PhD in Nuclear Physics? Mike (Caller): Oh, she’s more of a NORMAL bright kid, so she’s working...oh! And now, they’re both currently working in Chicago though, as much as I tried to tell them to stay the hell out of here. Jacobson: Well, maybe they want to spend time with their parents, well… Mike (Caller): Well yeah, who wouldn’t? Proft: *laughing* Thanks Mike! Didn’t want, didn’t want...there was no DEAL at U of I, so *starts to laugh* my kid went to PRINCETON AND MIT instead. Oh my God...

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