Nate Kaufman's post to this blog from the Federal Reserve got me thinking about the best way to maximize the potential from our higher education system. We've got about a dozen universities and perhaps three dozen community colleges. Unlike other states that integrate their universities into one statewide system (like California, Wisconsin and Minnesota), Illinois essentially has nine or ten separate systems for universities and three dozen or so separately administered community colleges.
That can't be the most efficient way to do things.
There should be easier transferability between colleges, and we should probably be importing thousands of students from around the world to our campuses. I'm sure we get a bigger economic bang from a non-Illinois student choosing to live and learn in our state for four years than from an Illinois student going to one of our colleges.
Seems like we should be increasing the number of non-Illinois students at our schools. And then figuring out a way to develop more businesses from our universities. Urbana is one of the world's leading research universities (Netscape was created there ... I was using Mosaic back in the day before there was a Netscape), but we don't really create a ton of start-up companies with all that brain power. Why not?
It can't just be the weather.
And it can't be our super-low income tax either, as California has higher taxes than we do. So does Massachusetts (two states that do a better job at generating business from universities than we do).