The 21st Show

How U of I Wound Up In Champaign; International Student Enrollment; Open Enrollment and ACA Update


Left: Portrait of Clark Robinson Griggs, member of the Illinois House of Representatives and Mayor of Urbana who was instrumental in bringing the Illinois Industrial University to Urbana-Champaign. Right: The dormitory at what was then called Illinois Industrial University in Urbana, which would become the University of Illinois. Source: University of Illinois Archives

On the 21st: The number of new international college students in the US has decreased for the second straight year. Some worry that it’s because of our political climate, but some experts believe it's just part of the picture. We heard more about that. Plus, open enrollment for the healthcare marketplace goes on until December 15. We spoke to some experts to help you understand that, and what’s going on with the Affordable Care Act. And, a man named Clark Robinson Griggs played a huge part in making sure U of I would call Champaign-Urbana home. So why has he been largely written out of our history?

For years, hundreds of thousands of international college students have flocked to campuses across the country in hopes of an 'American-style' education. And today, the United States is still the most popular destination. Just last year, over one million international students were enrolled in American universities.

But over the last two years, the number of new students has started to decline. In 2017, enrollment of new international students fell by more than 6 percent.

So what's behind all this? Yimin Wang works on international recruitment and enrollment as the executive director of the INTO Illinois State University Center. She joined us from Normal to share her insights.

And Scott Jaschik was also with us. He's the editor of Inside Higher Ed and joined us over the line from Washington.

Also, with us was Hye-Jin Yeo, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois' Department of Higher Education. She shared her research with us which focuses on international students and their racial experiences at American institutions.

Plus —

Are you one of the millions making that dreaded decision this month? What health insurance should I sign up for?

Then you're not alone. And healthcare continues to be a top priority in Washington. The Democrats made it their signature issue in the midterm elections last month. And now that they've secured a majority in the House, Republican attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act are most likely on hold.

In the meantime, open enrollment for the online marketplace is going on right now and has been available since Nov. 1. Individuals can sign up through Dec. 15 at

So what's the state of the ACA right now, and what do you need to know if you're applying for health insurance? 

We discussed that with Lisa Schencker, she's a reporter covering healthcare for the Chicago Tribune. And, Barbara Otto, CEO of the Chicago outreach organization Smart Policy Works, was also with us.

Also, Dan Weissmann joined us. Dan is a longtime public radio journalist from Chicago and the host of the podcast "An Arm And A Leg," which talks about the cost of healthcare.

And —

The University of Illinois system is a fixture in our state — with colleges in Springfield, Chicago, and Champaign–Urbana. Every year they receive hundreds of millions of dollars in public money, and about 375,000 U of I alumni currently live in Illinois.

Since 1867, the flagship school has been in Champaign–Urbana. But that wasn't always a guarantee. And back then, a man named Clark Robinson Griggs was a major force in making sure the U of I ended up here and not in Jacksonville, Lincoln or Normal. So why don't we hear more about Clark Robinson Griggs?

To help answer that questions, Tom Kacich joined us. He's a columnist for the Champaign News-Gazette and has written about Griggs' impact for them.

Nathan Tye also joined us in the studio to talk about this. Nathan is a doctoral candidate at the U of I's Department of History. He has also taught courses on the history of the University.

Finally —

We also had a follow up to a conversation we had last Thursday about the Day With(out) Art project and World AIDS Day. The Krannert Art Museum screened six short films that focused on the lives of people living with HIV.

During that conversation, we talked a little bit about the current state of HIV. Anand Kalra was one of the filmmakers. He's also originally from Illinois and works at the Positive Women's Network. Anand left us a voicemail following up with his thoughts about stigmatization in the HIV community.

You can find that show by clicking here, and you can also leave us a voicemail anytime at (217) 300-2121.

Story source: WILL