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Conference Logistics:

The conference will be held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on June 4-5, 2018 at the iHotel and Conference Center, 1900 South First Street, Champaign, IL, 61820.


Conference Organizer:

Jennifer A. Delaney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Planning Committee:

William R. Doyle, Vanderbilt University
David Tandberg, State Higher Education Executive Officers
Andy Carlson, State Higher Education Executive Officers

Research Questions:

The conference is organized around the following research questions:

  1. What are the consequences of volatility in state support for stakeholder groups, such as students (enrollment, completion, etc.) and institutions (planning, staffing, expenditure patterns, etc.)?

  2. What are identifiable markers of changes in the intensity of volatility in state spending for higher education? For instance, what is the role of the business cycle in relation to state spending for higher education? What are identifiable patterns in state spending for higher education? To what degree does volatility in spending for higher education vary across states? Which state characteristics are associated with more or less volatility? What mechanisms can be used to quantify the risk inherent in a volatile system?

  3. How much have changes in volatility intensities impacted funding levels? For instance, has there been an overall decline in spending levels following more or less volatile periods?

  4. What are the patterns and consequences of volatility in non-institutionally-focused state spending for higher education? How does volatility in state funding for higher education institutions relate to state funding for student aid or capital projects?

  5. What mechanisms are available for addressing volatility and how effective are these mechanisms? For instance, is there a relationship between performance funding, funding formulas, state financial aid programs, state “free” college programs (or other state higher education finance policies) and volatility?


Champaign-Urbana is readily accessible to visitors by car, plane, train, or bus. A number of interstate, U.S., and state highways serve the motorist.

Conference Hotel

The conference is being held at the iHotel and Convention Center. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and from Willard Airport, Illinois Terminal, and campus buildings.

Directions from Interstate Highways

From I-74: Take Neil Street Exit #182 and head south to Kirby Avenue.  Turn left on Kirby Avenue heading east to South First Street.  Turn right on South First Street, hotel located one block south.

From North I-57: Merge onto I-74 East follow directions from I-74

Trains and Buses

Trains and buses serving Champaign-Urbana arrive at and depart from the Illinois Terminal at 45 E. University Avenue in downtown Champaign. Taxis are available at the terminal for transportation to the iHotel or other locations.

Amtrak provides daily rail passenger service to and from Chicago and points south through Memphis to New Orleans. For more information about passenger rail service, visit Amtrak’s website or call 800-872-7245 or 217-352-5905.

Multiple companies provide national and regional bus service.

Local bus service around town is provided by Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District.

Get more information on these services on the City of Champaign public transportation page.

Peoria Charter

This bus charter service offers shuttles to and from Chicago airports to Champaign. Check timetables here or visit their website.


Willard Airport

The University of Illinois' Willard Airport is five miles south of Champaign, just off US 45. Willard Airport currently offers flights to and from Chicago O'Hare Airport and the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport. Connections are available from these major hubs to virtually anywhere on the globe. Rental cars are available at the airport. For more information, visit Willard Airport’s website or call 217-244-8600.  

Directions from Willard Airport to the iHotel and Conference Center


Flightstar is located at Willard Airport and provides services for personal and charter aircraft. For more information, visit Flightstar’s website or call 217-351-7700. 

Central Illinois Regional Airport

Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA), located in Bloomington, IL, about a hour drive from Champaign-Urbana, offers flights to and from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando-Sanford, and St. Pete/Clearwater. Rental cars are available at the airport. For more information, visit the CIRA website or call 309-663-7383.

Directions from CIRA to the iHotel and Conference Center (50 miles, approximately 54 minutes)

Driving directions from other airports

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (152 miles, approximately 2 hours, 27 minutes)

Chicago Midway International Airport (144 miles, approximately 2 hours, 21 minutes)

Indianapolis International Airport (125 miles, approximately 2 hours, 2 minutes)

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (183 miles, approximately 2 hours, 51 minutes)

Campus and City Maps



Downtown Champaign

Midtown Champaign and nearby campus area


Things to do in Champaign - Urbana

Champaign-Urbana has a variety of great food, entertainment, and recreation opportunities for you to enjoy during your stay at the conference.

Some highlights of the dining scene are noted in this article from Midwest Living and in this guide from TripAdvisor, which also has suggestions for things to do in the area.

The University of Illinois itself offers several fine things to do, from museums to hiking trails:


For additional information, Visit Champaign County has abundant suggestions for various activities in the area:


Additional Information:

Please direction any questions to Jennifer Delaney at

This research conference is supported by a grant from the Education Research Conferences Program of the American Educational Research Association. Additional support has been provided by the O’Leary Endowment, which supports the Forum on the Future of Public Education at the University of Illinois.

Things to do in Champaign-Urbana

Directions to the conference