budget impasse

The state's budget impasse soon may affect more than just overall funding for higher education.

The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits schools in the Midwest, recently sent a letter to state lawmakers and the governor  urging them to pass a budget. The HLC says that, without state funding, Illinois universities are at risk of losing their accreditation. SIU President Randy Dunn said that could be catastrophic.

Lacy Scarmana/WVIK

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Quad Cities mayors, and the directors of the Iowa and Illinois Departments of Transportation turned over ceremonial dirt Monday at Leach Park in Bettendorf, Iowa, to

break ground for the I-74 bridge, a $400 million project which aims to replace the current twin bridges, widen the road to two lanes, and include a pedestrian and bike path. 

Gov. Rauner took a break from budget negotiations in Springfield to attend the ceremony.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate in Springfield as Illinois approaches the end of two years without a budget. Both sides are narrowing their focus.

Republicans are emphasizing three issues: lowering the cost of workers’ compensation; cutting state pensions; and freezing property taxes.

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said that, if Democrats try to water down changes in those areas, he’ll have a hard time winning support for a budget deal.

FAFSA Filings Down Significantly In Illinois

7 hours ago
Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The volume of applications in Illinois for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is down about 14 percent from last year, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

The decrease in filings follows the Department of Education's recent changes to encourage more people to submit them; the filing window is open earlier, and the application does not require people to update it with 2016 tax information.

Eric Zarnikow is the executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Sean Tenner

In response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s order for a 10-day special session, the General Assembly returned to Springfield this week to focus on crafting a budget.

Three weeks ago, legislators tried to beat the end of the official spring legislative session and worked to pass measures dealing with women’s and LGBT rights, farmer’s market concerns, and issues related to women in prison.