Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Illinois Isolationism?

Do you read Suburban Chicago's Daily Herald?

Chuck Goudie’s description of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign paints a gloomy picture for Illinois residents, especially those graduating from high school and hoping to enroll in the state’s flagship university. Goudie cites statistics designed to sketch an image of international students sucking the tax dollars from our collective pocket. (What Goudie fails to mention is the fact that nonresident students pay 300% higher tuition than Illinois residents do.) However, the issue Goudie raises is more important than dollars and cents.

Ours is a global economy. By making the Urbana campus a microcosm of the world instead of a carbon copy our state, the University of Illinois prepares its students to take on the international issues facing our society. This state cannot afford to buy into the isolationism Goudie promotes. Perhaps admitting more foreign-born students will raise the admission standards for prospective Illini. Despite what Goudie argues, this is a desirable outcome. All of our citizens will benefit from a local university that attracts students capable of meeting such high standards, no matter where they were born.

If Illinois’ high school students want to assure themselves entry into an internationally acclaimed university, they should work harder in the classroom. Learning to compete on an international playing field will only groom Illinois’ best and brightest for the world they will encounter after college.


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