Dusty Rhodes

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"Groceries" by Flickr User eddie welker / (CC X 2.0)

Some 40,000 low-income students at community colleges around the state could have become eligible for federal food assistance, or SNAP benefits, from a measure approved by members of both parties in the Illinois legislature.

But late Friday, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a portion of the bill, saying that identifying and notifying those students wasn’t the "best use" of limited time and money. Rauner said he supports the underlying effort to help students. 

Courtesy of Elgin School District U-46

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been drumming up opposition to the Democrats' school-funding plan, known as Senate Bill 1, by touting how much more money each district would receive under his plan.

He points to Elgin School District U-46, the state’s second-largest school district, as the biggest winner: That Kane County city would gain about $15 million if lawmakers approve Rauner’s amendatory veto

So that district's CEO, Tony Sanders, must be rooting for Rauner's plan, right?

Wrong.

Daisy Contreras/NPR Illinois

The Illinois State Senate spent Sunday in session, where Senators voted 38 to 19 to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of the new school funding bill.

The override wasn't a surprise, because this new evidence-based funding plan originally had cleared the Senate with a veto-proof majority. The House, however, represents a higher hurdle, where Democrats will need Republicans to vote with them. That vote is scheduled Wednesday.

Sen. Andy Manar, the Bunker Hill Democrat who sponsored the measure, says he'd rather negotiate a compromise.

"Cap and Diploma" by Flickr User bluefieldphotos bp / (CC X 2.0)

Adults in Illinois who failed to graduate from high school still can earn a General Educational Development certificate, also known as a GED.

But legislation approved by the General Assembly would provide what some consider to be a better alternative.

Students leave high school for a variety of reasons. Some drop out because of family obligations, financial pressures, or lack of motivation. Some are pushed out due to disciplinary problems. Once they reach age 21, their only option is to get a GED.

Carter Staley/NPR Illinois

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level they received in 2015 — minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.  

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to $4,700 to low-income college students.

The two-year budget impasse caused a break in MAP funding, and affected students spoke out about how this interruption threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

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