I Like Illinois SIUE picSouthern Illinois University Edwardsville has started off the school year on a high note: its online nurse educator master’s program has been ranked first in Illinois and fifth in the nation for affordability, according to Affordable Schools, a site that ranks low-cost, high-quality degree programs.

To compile its list, Affordable Schools considered more than just the average cost of attendance. The rankings also took into account the program’s student-to-faculty ratio and its national standing as determined by U.S. News and World Report. Affordable Schools praised SIUE’s opportunities for hands-on learning and its individualized coursework, as well as its focus on preparing students to sit for the National League for Nursing Certified Nurse Educator examination after they graduate. Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, joined SIUE in the top 15.

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U of I campusWith the University of Illinois’ world-renowned Science and Engineering departments, it’s no surprise that six U of I researchers have received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers this year. The award is the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow upon young professionals at the beginning of their independent research careers.

This year’s winners include mechanical engineering and science professors Gaurav Bahl and Kelly Stephani, materials science and engineering professor Pinshane Huang, chemistry professor Prashant Jain, molecular and integrative physiology professor Daniel Llano, and physics professor Julia “Jessie” Shelton.

These young scientists and engineers are eligible to receive a research grant for up to five years, allowing them to further their studies in support of critical government missions. The federal agencies involved include the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation.

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ILI ACT Scores

Illinois students are scoring higher on the ACT this year in spite of a national trend of lower scores on the test designed to gauge college preparedness.

Students in the state achieved an average composite score of 23.9 out of 36, an increase from 21.4 in 2017.

The results come at a time when composite scores across the country have declined to an average of 20.8 after reaching an average of 21.0 last year.

The nationwide decrease in scores has been particularly substantial in math, where scores reached their lowest levels since 2004. Only 40 percent of test takers were rated as prepared to take a first-year college algebra course compared to 41 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2012. Illinois beat the national average in math 61 to 40 percent.

Illinois students demonstrated a higher level of college readiness than students nationally, outperforming the national average in every category. More than 80 percent of test takers in Illinois were rated as ready for college-level English courses, compared to 60 percent nationally. Illinois students also beat the national average 64 to 36 percent in reading and 55 to 46 percent in science.

For complete data on ACT scores in Illinois and nationally, click here.

32091004003 8e3f4a1f1a bFive Illinois universities made the top 100 and three others made the top 200 in the annual ranking of U.S. colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report.

The rankings released Monday reveal the top colleges in the country for 2019.

University of Chicago tied for third with Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale. Northwestern jumped up a spot from last year’s ranking to the no.10 slot.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign cracked the top 50 and was ranked the 46th best university in the country.

Other Illinois universities that landed in the top 100 list include Loyola University Chicago tied for 89th and the Illinois Institute of Technology tied 96th.

DePaul University came in 119th and the University of Illinois Chicago was ranked 129th. Illinois State University placed 171st.

The ranking included nearly 1,400 institutions, which report data through an annual survey. The schools were evaluated on 16 metrics aimed at measuring academic excellence, according to US News and World Report. The criteria included class size, average spending per student on areas like instruction and student services and the number of retaining and graduating students. 

RadonPosterContestMaddie Kogelis, a Washington Community High School student won first place in a national video contest spreading awareness about the dangers of radon.

The contest is sponsored each year by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois.

Kogelis, a Washington, Illinois resident, finished first in the state contest and her 60-second video was then entered into the national contest, where she took home the prize. Her video shows creativity and demonstrates the importance of testing your home for radioactive gases like radon that are known to cause lung cancer.

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