higher ed funding

Midstate College President Meredith Bunch says low and declining enrollment has forced the sudden closure of the 131-year-old private institution in Peoria. 

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

J.B. Pritzker is set to become the 43rd governor of Illinois on Monday. He won in part by promising to make college more affordable, improve the state’s finances, and reform the criminal justice system.

Statehouse editor Brian Mackey sat down with Pritzker over the weekend for a conversation focused on his policy agenda, the problems facing Illinois, and ethics in government.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

If Illinois lawmakers fail to enact a budget, state universities could potentially lose as much as $4 billion in federal funds.

That's according to Randy Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University. He says the Higher Learning Commission has threatened to pull some schools' accreditation — a move that would cause serious ripple effects.

 

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A month after Gov. Bruce Rauner conveyed to Republicans his opposition to the grand bargain, Senate Democrats are rejecting his attempt to break off pieces of the deal. Meanwhile, Democrats are offering a "Comeback Agenda" as an alternative to Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," and House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking public offense to some of the governor's remarks.

Student rally in Illinois state capitol rotunda.
Tom Lisi / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

College students rallied in the state Capitol rotunda Wednesday. They’re urging lawmakers to restore state funding to universities and community colleges.

Eastern Illinois University

Campus communities in the state feel the consequences of drastic higher education cuts. 

Parents and grandparents who want to lock in tuition rates for their offspring can enroll in College Illinois! The punctuation is part of the registered trademark.

 

But despite the clever branding, excitement about the plan seems to be waning, thanks to the ongoing state budget impasse.

Timothy Killeen headshot
University of Illinois System

The University of Illinois is offering state lawmakers a deal: The school will meet several access and accountability benchmarks, if the state will pledge five years of stable funding.

hourglass with dollar signs instead of sand filtering through
flickr/ Bill Brooks

Before he ran for governor, Bruce Rauner described a plan to use funding for social services as a “wedge” issue to persuade Democrats to support anti-union proposals. The fact that lawmakers did nothing to address the rollback of the temporary income tax increase, which was passed in 2011, set the stage for him to try out his strategy.

flickr/ 401kcalculator.org

The political spotlight has shifted to the election, but the state budget crisis continues to cost the people of Illinois. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, discussion of a recent ruling on negotiations between AFSCME and Governor Rauner.  Also, enrollment numbers released for the state's public universities, and reflecting on the death of Phyllis Schlafly.  Illinois Issues' Jamey Dunn and Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press join the panel.

Randy Dunn
Brian Mackey / WUIS

After years of declining enrollment and a recent loss of funding under the state budget impasse, leaders of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale are considering the school's future.  

Molly Parker, a reporter with The Southern Illinoisan, is working on a series of stories focused on the university. Illinois Issues editor Jamey Dunn sat down with Parker to talk about SIUC.  

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner used his veto pen Friday to reject a measure that would have provided about $3.9 billion for higher education, mental health treatment and other programs.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

The Illinois legislature sent a measure to the governor Friday giving $600 million to community colleges and public universities the first state funding they've seen in almost 10 months. It was a bi-partisan effort to push short-term spending by rank-and-file members frustrated by the budget impasse.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Members of the Illinois House spent Thursday evening congratulating themselves thinking they were minutes from passing a bipartisan measure sending 600 million dollars in emergency funding to the state community colleges and public universities. But, the vote never happened.

Sarah Mueller WUIS

Illinois colleges and universities have cut staff, eliminated programs and threatened to close … all because they've gone 9 months without money from state government. As people rallied in Springfield Wednesday to push for state cash, there was news of more possible layoffs.

Illinois colleges and universities have gone without state money since last summer.

public domain

High school seniors who plan to go on to college should be finalizing their dorm and roommate choices about now.

But this year, those decisions aren’t about who brings the mini-fridge. With a total lack of  state funding for higher education, it’s about which schools and programs will be fiscally stable, or whether to go at all.

The state of Illinois hasn't funded higher education or many social services, as a budget impasse continues. House lawmakers passed legislation Thursday to partially restore that money. But the political wrangling isn't done yet.

The latest effort to fund Illinois' financially-starving universities and colleges may be dead on arrival. Republicans are giving early indications they're not buying a last-minute offer unveiled just Wednesday night and slated for debate Thursday.

Republicans have rebuffed Democrats' other attempts at funding higher education because they say it would add to the state's deficit, including a measure lawmakers spent much of Wednesday debating.