The College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL is facing a federal criminal investigation for its spending, contracts and financial oversight, but U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) appears more interested in criticizing for-profit colleges than on commenting on the College of DuPage scandal in his own state.
In the most recent development, a judge last week ordered the College of DuPage's foundation to turn over to the media a federal subpoena that the college has tried to keep private.
“It’s interesting,” Ted Dabrowski, the Illinois Policy Institute's (IPI) vice president of policy, recently told the Higher Education Tribune, about Durbin remaining silent on the College of DuPage issue while being so vocal regarding for-profit colleges.
"Sen. Durbin has rightly recognized a problem – that too much federal money is pouring in to higher education," said Dabrowski. "But it’s not just happening at for-profit colleges; it’s also happening at other higher-education institutions."
IPI is a nonpartisan, independent government watchdog, and recently released a report, Pensions vs. Higher Education, which found:
• More than 50 percent of state universities’ budgets go to pension costs for school faculty and administrators instead of going to the classroom;
• More than half of Illinois’ 2,465 university administrators received a base salary of $100,000 or more in 2015; and
• Since 2006, Illinois universities have grown administrative staff and salaries to record numbers and record costs.
Such policies, driven by ever-increasing administrative costs and the higher-education pension crisis, have created a roughly 100 percent increase in student tuition over the past decade and put college out of reach for many Illinois students, said Dabrowski, who co-authored the report.
“We’re seeing administrative bloat across all higher-education institutions and we’re seeing massive multi-million-dollar pensions that students end up having to fund through higher tuition costs,” Dabrowski said. "I’m not sure why Sen. Durbin is only focused on for-profit colleges in the state because they all have a problem."
Durbin has not commented on the issues facing the College of DuPage and the senator’s office did not respond to a request for comment.