Archive for the ‘Harper College’ Category

Switzerland Davos Forum

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is making free college a priority in his second term. Tuition is driven up by pension costs, which Pritzker routinely ignores.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is making affordable college a priority in his second term, but so far he’s ignored the surest way to ensure it can happen: pension reform.

“It’s also our obligation to make college more affordable by removing financial barriers. That’s why we need to bring down the cost of higher education. Since I took office, we’ve increased scholarships by more than 50%. Now let’s focus on making tuition free for every working-class family,” Pritzker said.

The biggest barrier to affordable college in Illinois is pensions. Rising pension costs push up Illinois tuition, forcing students to pay the difference.

Pension Costs Education

It’s why Illinois has the fourth-highest in-state tuition and fees for public universities in the nation at $14,455 a year. Pritzker boasts increased scholarships, but scholarships are like a coupon: they help people but do nothing to change the price tag.

Other big states keep their universities affordable. Public colleges in California, New York, Texas and Florida all cost under $9,000 a year for residents.

Read more here.

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Bike Sharing

Koloni bikes at the Palatine Metra station. Photo: Igor Studenkov

The northwest suburbs are poised to get a bike-share system of their own as Harper College, a community college based in Palatine, has teamed up with Koloni bike-share platform to launch a bike-share pilot. Meanwhile, Pace is launching a new bus route to serve the community college.

The fees are time-based – the first hour is free and each additional hour costs $2. Harper College students and faculty get discounted rates – the first two hours are free and each additional hour costs $1. They can also buy $15 annual passes that entitle them to four hours of free riding per day. Users can take bikes to any destination within Harper Community College District 215, which includes Palatine and much of the surrounding suburbs, including all of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Elk Grove Village, Inverness, Lake Barrington, Mount Prospect, North Barrington, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, South Barrington, Tower Lakes and Wheeling. The pilot will run through November 2022.

For the time being, the bike-share system is hampered by the fact that it only has two dedicated bike parking racks – one on campus and one at the Palatine Metra station – and each rack only accommodates five bikes. But Harper College is reaching out to other villages and government entities within its district to try to install more racks, which would make the service more practical in other parts of the district.

The bike-share pilot launches two years after the last bus to serve the Harper College campus, Pace Route 696, was suspended due to low ridership early in the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 8, Pace will launch a new Route 697, which will link the Northwest Transportation Center, a major bus transit hub in Schaumburg, and Harper College. Harper officials told Streetsblog that, while they were disappointed with Route 696’s suspension, they welcomed the Route 697 pilot, since the restored connection to the Northwest Transportation Center would help students taking the buses from further out in the district.

Read more here.

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Harper Awards

Kathy Millin (left), executive director at Partners for Our Communities, receives $50,000 from the Harper College Educational Foundation’s Community Innovation Grant Fund Program, presented by Dr. Avis Proctor, Harper president. The grant will help fund POC’s Skyward Bound program to assist young people with their mental health needs.

Submitted by Harper College News Bureau

The Harper College Educational Foundation recently granted $100,000 to five, local nonprofit organizations as part of its new Community Innovation Fund Grant Program.

The program is providing one-year grants to nonprofit organizations whose missions support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities in Harper’s district. The program’s goals align with Harper’s efforts to reduce the college’s equity gaps by 20% by 2024.

“Harper and the Educational Foundation are inspired by the determination and ambition of these organizations, which share the college’s mission to better our communities,” said Laura Brown, vice president and chief advancement officer. “The Community Innovation Fund provides a wonderful opportunity to partner with groups seeking to assist under-resourced students, help at-risk single mothers and support victims of domestic violence.”

The five organizations that received a Community Innovation Fund Grant include:

  • Partners for Our Communities, Palatine: $50,000 grant to support Skyward Bound: Encouraging Marginalized Students & Their Families to Reach for the Sky. This program will offer access to one-on-one therapy for under-resourced young adults (ages 18-22) and their families. Skyward Bound’s goal is to remedy a mental health equity gap that exists after high school students graduate, but before they enroll in college. POC seeks to help young adults struggling with growing up and away from family, higher education, and finding employment.
  • GiGi’s Playhouse, Hoffman Estates: $15,000 grant for the Math and Literacy Program for people with Down syndrome. The proposal funded by this grant will create new, advanced program curriculum and increase the capacity for free math and literacy one-on-one support at GiGi’s, with the goal of improving achievement and access to community opportunities for those with Down syndrome.
  • WINGS, Palatine: $15,000 grant for the Suburban Rapid Rehousing Program, which will provide 40 households (approximately 160 people) with housing units and support services. The grant will fund supplies and educational/employment training assistance to serve the ultimate goal of breaking the cycle of domestic violence. WINGS assists clients in securing permanent housing and gainful employment upon exiting the program.
  • Fellowship Housing Corporation, Hoffman Estates: $10,000 grant for Transitional Housing and Wrap Around Services, seeking to remedy equity gaps for a diverse group of single mothers and children. The programs goals include providing safe, affordable housing for these families, along with case management, financial education, counseling, debt matching and career training for single mothers, as well as school supplies and warm clothes for their children.
  • Barrington Area Development Council, Barrington/Carpentersville: $10,000 to support InZone for Sunny Hill program, which will allow underserved students in grades four and five to attend the InZone Summer Enrichment and Sports Camp on Harper’s campus. The project is targeting 25 students at Sunny Hill Elementary School who will be able to choose from more than 150 courses that are structured to introduce college life and prepare them for the future.

All five grants are set to make a large impact in Harper’s district. Kathy Millin, executive director at POC, which was awarded the largest grant, spoke about her appreciation of the Community Innovation Fund Grant Program, but also about the difference these funds will make in people’s lives.

“I have to tell you when we first got the news, we cried. Our staff felt this sense of joy,” Millin said. “We’re seeing such despair and hopelessness out there, which scares me. We’re excited to help normalize taking care of your mental health for these young people.”

Harper and its foundation announced the grant program this spring and encouraged area organizations to apply while detailing how they would use the funding for projects, programs, activities and services that focus on uplifting activities with long-lasting impacts and outcomes. Each grant is for a one-year period (July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023) and recipients will be allowed to apply for a one-year renewal.

Part of the impetus for the Community Innovation Fund Grant Program was MacKenzie Scott’s $18 million transformational gift to Harper in 2021.

“MacKenzie Scott wrote how generosity is generative, and that sharing makes more,” said Dr. Avis Proctor, Harper president. “The goal of these grants is to advance work supporting equity, diversity and economic mobility within our community, for years to come. Together we can generate transformational and strategic impact for our entire community to thrive.”

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U of Illinois Tuition

Illinois spends 23% less on higher education than it did in 2007. University pension spending grew by 510% in that time. It doesn’t take a math major to see why tuition has increased 46%.

As the oldest of seven siblings, Ethan Fazio said tuition prices and financial aid were top factors when considering higher education and whether to stay in Illinois.

“I got a whole lot of other kids behind me for my parents to get through college, so I wanted to make the most financially responsible decision for myself and for my family,” said Fazio, a junior at the University of Illinois and a Mokena native. “I am fortunate to be an Illinois commitment recipient. But it’s daunting to think about tuition continuing to increase for the next generation of students.”

Fazio said without scholarships, he’s not sure he would be in school. He thinks tuition at Illinois’ public universities has grown too fast in recent years.

An Illinois Policy Institute analysis supports that view. Tuition has increased an average 46% at Illinois largest public universities in the past 15 years.

Average in-state tuition in Illinois is the fifth-most expensive in the nation, and the highest in the Midwest. Why? Public pensions are eating university resources.

State Universities Retirement System pension payments made up just 9% of state higher education spending in 2007. Now they take 44% of those dollars.

Read more here.

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Harper College will host a Law Enforcement Career Fair at its Palatine campus Thursday. Representatives of about 30 suburban police agencies are expected to attend.

Harper College will host a Law Enforcement Career Fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at its Palatine campus. The event, which is open to all but partly is focused on attracting more minority recruits, will offer candidates a chance to network with 30 suburban law enforcement agencies.

“There isn’t one agency that isn’t looking for diverse candidates,” said Brad Grossman, coordinator of Harper’s Law Enforcement and Justice Program.

Last year, Harper conducted a police training workshop in partnership with the Northwest Suburban Law Enforcement Recruitment Taskforce comprising seven police departments — Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Schaumburg. It drew 55 candidates of diverse backgrounds.

Grossman has been reaching out to minority groups to invite applicants. Among the challenges is few people of color apply for law enforcement jobs, he said.

“If you are a qualified minority candidate, you have a phenomenal opportunity,” said Grossman, a retired former deputy chief with the Palatine Police Department. “We need minority groups to promote this, as well.”

Registration is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcomed. Register at bit.ly/3JY9R45.

More here.

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Town Hall

The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to a virtual town hall forum to hear updates from many local taxing bodies. Participants include representatives from Barrington 220, Barrington Area Library, Barrington Park District, Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District, Barrington Hills Park District, South Barrington Park District and Harper College.

The event will be held on Wednesday, April 20 from 9am to 10:30amClick here to register.

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Press Release:

SPRINGFIELD – Today, the unions representing teachers and support staff in 52 school districts across Illinois will file a motion to intervene in a Sangamon County lawsuit in an effort to protect the safety of the workplaces and the health and lives of students and employees by keeping the governor’s student mask mandate in place.

In October, attorney Tom DeVore filed a lawsuit against 145 school districts across the state on behalf of parents and their children at a price of $5,000 per district, plus filing fees. Those cases have all been consolidated into one in Sangamon County in front of Circuit Judge Raylene Grischow.

The suit asks that the students not be required to wear a mask or be excluded from campus, and that students not be excluded from campus if they were “close contacts” with a COVID positive person, without the local health department weighing in on each individual case.

The court filings today were made on behalf of 75 IEA-affiliated locals, which represent more than 29,000 members of the Illinois Education Association who serve more than 214,000 students. Each of those locals made the independent decision to intervene in the lawsuit.

“Almost all of our members are vaccinated or complying with the vaccinate-or-test order. We are all wearing masks. We want students to wear their masks and stay home if they were close contacts of someone with COVID. We believe in keeping staff, students, all of the families of our staff and students and all of our communities safe,” said Andrew Frey, president of the Triad Education Association. “Things were looking good for a while, but here we are again. This is a worldwide pandemic. We are not immune in Illinois just because we want to turn our heads. So, we won’t. And, we’ll work to keep our schools safe.”

A status hearing is set in the case for next week. Should the judge grant the IEA locals’ motion, they would be able to take part in that hearing and in court proceedings going forward.

“We have been saying all along that it is our goal to keep students and staff in buildings as long as it is safe,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the IEA. “Our locals are respectfully asking the court to respect the educators’ wishes who have asked their local to intervene on their behalf, to ensure that we can continue in-person instruction in a safe and healthy environment. We believe the governor has worked hard to provide a safe educational environment for students and that districts have been following his executive orders because they are guided by science and are focused on keeping our students and staff safe. That’s the best we can ask under these circumstances.”

As of Dec. 9, nearly 1.9 million Illinoisans have tested positive for COVID-19, of which nearly 400,000 are under the age of 20. There have been 30,000 confirmed or probable COVID deaths. At least four Illinois public school employees died of COVID during the 2019-20 school year, at least eight in the 2020-21 school and at least one this school year. Currently, there are 163 active “youth outbreaks” in the state. Between June and August of this year, the Delta variant resulted in a five-fold increase of child hospitalizations, and between July 3 and Oct. 30, the case rate for those under age 20 increase from 17 per 100,000 to 142 per 100,000.

As of Dec. 9, all 102 counties in Illinois are coded red for high transmission on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Community Transmission Map – the most critical rating.


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Please visit suburbanactionpac.com to learn more.

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Harper College announced Tuesday the largest gift in the Palatine community college’s history: $18 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Harper College officials Tuesday announced receipt of an $18 million donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, in what is the largest gift in the Palatine community college’s 54-year history.

“It’s hard to wrap your mind around it, still,” said college President Avis Proctor. “I still get chills thinking about this.”

The unrestricted gift is among more than $2.7 billion awarded to 286 “high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked,” Scott announced in a blog post Tuesday.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave a combined $6 billion to other groups in two similar surprise disbursements last July and December.

Harper was among more than 30 colleges and universities selected for funding in the latest round, which also included the University of Illinois-Chicago ($40 million) and City Colleges of Chicago’s Kennedy-King College ($5 million).

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” Scott wrote.

Read more here.

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Big changes could be coming to admissions at public universities in Illinois after two expansive bills cleared the state Senate Higher Education Committee in recent days.

The two pieces of legislation aim to make a degree more accessible: The first would allow residents to apply to any of the state’s 12 public universities without submitting SAT or ACT scores, while the other would guarantee well-performing community college students a spot at the University of Illinois.

Both bills, which already passed in the House, were elevated out of committee and could next proceed to a full Senate floor vote. The governor must also sign the bills before they become law, which is far from certain.

State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, presented the test-optional admissions bill, known as the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, and said it was based on research showing that high school GPAs are a better predictor of college graduation than ACT or SAT scores. The bill calls for all four-year public universities to implement test-optional admissions by January.

“We know children have test anxieties and they don’t do well on these standardized tests, and so to take a snapshot of a person’s high school years and reduce it down to a test … and to put that kind of weight on that test, we just don’t think it’s fair,” Belt said.

Under the bill, students would still be able to submit test scores if they want. Admissions offices also consider GPA, difficulty of high school courses, personal essays and outside activities.

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