Community College Students Hurting In Budget Battle

Jan 25, 2016

Illinois community colleges students are caught up in a political battle between the Republican governor and Democratic legislators.

Rich Egger / WIUM/Illinois Public Radio

The state of Illinois has cut funding to higher education each year for more than a decade.  Those cuts, combined with declining enrollment, will cause some people to lose their jobs at Western Illinois University at the Macomb and Quad Cities campuses.

Kankakee Community College

Many public Illinois colleges and universities are hard-hit by the budget stalemate. The state isn’t mandated to fund higher education the way it must pay for kindergarten through high school.

Kankakee Community College made cuts earlier in the year due to a continued decline in enrollment. Officials cut down on its award-winning sustainability program and decided to stop operating its public radio station.

College Textbooks Could Soon Get A Lot Cheaper

Oct 12, 2015

College students could soon save thousands of dollars each year on textbooks. Illinois US Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Al Franken, from Minnesota, are proposing a bill so colleges and universities can provide more textbooks online for free.

Franken says the cost of textbooks has risen 82-percent over the last decade, and the average student spends over $1,200 on books each year. And, textbooks are one of the most "overlooked costs" when it comes to college affordability.

Bright Directions

The state of Illinois is reducing fees on its Bright Directions 529 college savings plan. It’s meant to help families put more of their investment toward rising tuition costs. 

According to the state treasurer's office, the change eliminates a setup fee and quarterly maintenance fee, and cuts management fees by almost half. Officials say more than 100,000 accounts will benefit from the new terms, saving investors nearly $3.6 million annually.