Chicago State earns an 'F' for its 11 percent graduation rate at $2.5 million spent per grad
In graduating just 11 percent of its 3,462 undergraduate students, Chicago State University is now spending more than $2.5 million per year, per graduate.
And nearly all of that money comes from taxpayers.
That’s according to a Chicago City Wire analysis of a financial audit of Chicago State performed by the Illinois Auditor General.
According to the audit, conducted in 2015, Chicago State’s revenues were $162.6 million in 2015, $96 million from Illinois taxpayers and the rest from the federal government, in the form of direct grants and tuition assistance.
Chicago State reported in May that of 589 students who entered the school as freshmen in 2009, only 65 managed to graduate over six years, an 11 percent success rate.
The auditor general also reported that the school owes at least $356.5 million in debt, $342 million of which is Chicago State’s share of the $22 billion it owes to Illinois’ State Universities Retirement System (SURS), accumulated as university employee salaries have escalated and employee pension contributions have not.
Like all public state universities, Chicago State cannot precisely report how much it owes to SURS. But it is safe to assume the number is higher than the $342 million figure, which was calculated in June 2014 and is based on a typically optimistic rate of return of 7.1 percent.
In 2015, an audit found that Chicago State spent $111 million on “compensation and benefits,” including, $67 million on salaries, $18 million on employee insurance and $26 million on pension contributions made for its employees.
Chicago State had 357 full-time faculty and staff in 2015, according to the Illinois State Board of Education. They earned an average of $135,341 in total compensation, including $81,480 in salary, $21,921 in benefits, and $31,940 -- or $2,661 per month -- toward their retirements.
In-state tuition for undergraduates at Chicago State was $15,694 in 2015-16.
The U.S. Department of Education said Chicago State undergraduate students received an average of $16,428 in aid last year -- $6,784 in grants and scholarships, and $9,644 in federal student loans.
Of Chicago State’s 3,462 undergraduates, 498, or 14 percent, are transfer students.