To the Editor:
I submit that there are a couple of glaring oversights in the discussion about the funding split for the SIU system. First, President Dunn is quoted in your April 10 edition as saying that there has been a 60/40 funding formula in place for SIU’s two main campuses going back at least forty years.
According to a May 6, 2012, article in The Southern Illinoisan, SIU’s Carbondale campus had an enrollment of 23,236 in 1980 and was still growing, reaching its all-time peak enrollment in 1991 at 24,869. Meanwhile, the Edwardsville Intelligencer reported that the Edwardsville campus, only 50 years old last year, had reached 11,151 in 1996 (I found it difficult to obtain an enrollment figure going back to 1980).
So assuming that the Edwardsville campus enrolled half, at best, of the Carbondale campus students 40 years ago, why would its Board have established a 60/40 funding formula then?
I suggest that instead of spending time and money (there is discussion of hiring an external consultant to research this issue) over how to split existing funds, the administration and the Board should commit their precious resources to figuring out how to stop the slide in enrollment.
Second, we know that the Carbondale campus has the capacity to accommodate many more students than it currently has, and in an effort to be as neutral as possible (being a resident of the Carbondale area), it makes sense to me to employ existing resources rather than sacrifice them to fund a campus that continues to charge lower tuition than Carbondale does. Edwardsville’s tuition should be made to match Carbondale’s; this would alleviate the imbalance in funding.