The General Assembly and Governor Otto Kerner created the Board of Higher Education in 1961 to plan and coordinate Illinois' system of colleges and universities at a time when enrollments in post-secondary education were taking flight. The goal was to create an agency with the expertise, credibility, and statewide perspective to map an efficient and orderly course for the dramatic growth of higher education then underway.
The Board of Higher Education consists of 16 members as follows: 10 members appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate; one member of a public university governing board and one member of a private college or university board of trustees, each appointed by the Governor without the advice and consent of the Senate; the chairman of the Illinois Community College Board; the chairman of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission; and 2 student members selected by the recognized advisory committee of students of the Board of Higher Education, one of whom must be a non traditional undergraduate student who is at least 24 years old and represents the views of non traditional students, such as a person who is employed or is a parent. One of the 10 members appointed by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, must be a faculty member at an Illinois public university.
PLANNING AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT
The Board of Higher Education's policy and planning responsibility is one of its key functions, which it carries out in a variety of ways, from ad hoc study committees and special task forces to initiatives of the Board's staff, based in Springfield.
Through its master planning responsibility, the Board approved the Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success in December 2008 as the blueprint for higher education over the next decade. The Public Agenda focuses on four goals:
BUDGET AND FISCAL AFFAIRS
In fiscal year 2015, higher education institutions, agencies, and grant programs received $3.5 billion in state general funds, an increase of $34.5 million over the fiscal year 2014 appropriations. When funding for the State Universities Retirement System is excluded, funding for higher education institutional operations and grants totals $2.0 billion, which is flat compared to the fiscal year 2014 appropriation.
The fiscal year 2015 budget includes a total of $1.2 billion in general funds support for public universities, a slight decrease of $2.8 million from fiscal year 2014. Additionally, the budget includes $294.5 million for community colleges, also a slight increase of $1.7 million over fiscal year 2014.
The fiscal year 2015 budget includes a total of $373.3 million (an increase of $56,400) for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the state's needs-based student financial aid program.
The Board administers state and federal grant programs and receives funds for other initiatives. In all, FY2014 appropriations for grant programs totaled $13.9 million (both state and federal funds) for a variety of programs and purposes related to the Board's goals and priorities.
The Board of Higher Education approves all new units of instruction, research, and public service, as well as new academic administrative units, for public colleges and universities in the state. The Board also undertakes periodic review of all existing units of instruction, research, and public service to advise the appropriate governing board whether such programs continue to be educationally and economically justified. Both of these activities are initiated at the campus or institutional level and reviewed by the appropriate governing board before being submitted to the Board staff for analysis and presentation to the Board of Higher Education.
Proposals for new programs and reviews of existing programs for public community colleges and public universities are analyzed in the context of the institution's mission, focus, and priorities. Budget and planning documents prepared by the colleges and universities are submitted annually to the Board of Higher Education and contain programmatic plans related to institutional objectives.
The Board of Higher Education also has statutory responsibility to approve operating authority and degree-granting authority for certain independent and out-of-state institutions operating within the state of Illinois. In addition, the Board must approve all new degree programs proposed by those independent institutions established or beginning to offer degrees after August 14, 1961.
Moreover, the Board carries out ongoing reviews of those independent institutions operating and offering degrees under the Board's authorization to assure that the institutions maintain the conditions under which the original authority to operate or grant degrees was given. The Board has the power to revoke its authorization if an institution fails to sustain the conditions required by the initial approval to operate or grant degrees.
INFORMATION SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY
Data collected and maintained by the Board, which has a statutory responsibility to establish a system of comprehensive, meaningful, and timely information about higher education, fall into three broad categories:
Student demographic data include age, gender, racial/ethnic group, enrollment status, major, type of degree being sought, and state of origin. Faculty and staff information include race/ethnicity and gender as well as academic rank and tenure status. Information about institutions includes price to students; physical plant space and operations; revenue source; objects of expenditures; and academic unit and program costs, and faculty credit hour studies. In conjunction with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the Board collects data on student financial aid.
This information supports the Board's planning and budgeting activities, its responsibility for systematic program reviews, and its periodic studies of issues of special concern or interest. It also makes available to the higher education community and the public a host of vital data that help colleges and universities as well as state leaders as they shape policies affecting the significant role higher education plays in Illinois' economic, social, and cultural well-being. Examples of reports produced from the data and disseminated to the Illinois higher education community include: Data Book on Illinois Higher Education, enrollment reports, cost studies, and student participation in higher education. Data also are used to prepare reports such as the Annual Report on Public University Revenues and Expenditures in response to requests and legislative mandates from the office of the Governor and the General Assembly.
This work is supported with information technology which encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange, use and share information in its various forms. This includes the development, implementation, and maintenance of computer hardware and software systems to organize and communicate information electronically both internally and externally including but not limited to “in-house” systems, the IBHE website and other social media tools.