U of I’s light could use more illuminating

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So the University of Illinois is worried because more potential freshmen get admitted but decide to go elsewhere.

A valid concern. It won’t be much of a University of Illinois if the school is all exchange students from Ghana and Qatar.

In 2006, 58 percent of students admitted from Illinois ended up attending; last year, it was 45 percent. At this rate, soon the only thing “Illinois” about it will be the name.

How to get more home-grown kids to go to our big land-grant college? Maybe, Illinois leaders wonder, they should lower tuition. That way, kids won’t be so quick to grab attractive college deals from other states.

That’s a start. Going to Illinois used to be a bargain, but relentless cost-cutting has eroded quality and boosted costs at our still-great-despite-everything university system.

But money is only one factor in the swirling confusion of college. As the father of a boy who just snubbed U of I to fly way the heck off to college in California, and another who is a high school senior in the midst of visiting schools — nine since spring, including Illinois — I feel well-positioned to give the Illini powers that be some friendly advice as to how they can make their university more attractive to hard-to-please locals.

Numbers to keep in mind are 63 and 41.

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