higher education

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.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Enrollment at many Illinois public universities has declined in the past decade. This coincides with the state approaching two years without a full spending plan. As a result, college-bound students have tough decisions to make.

iit.edu

About 200 students protested in the Illinois Capitol rotunda Wednesday.  They’re part of the Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education.

The group wanted to show lawmakers the importance of funding colleges and universities, as well as MAP grants for students.  

One of the protestors was Kiasee Ray,  a freshman at Dominican University in River Forest. She says the MAP grant is the reason she's in college today.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

A preliminary report on college enrollment in Illinois shows a decline at all sectors of higher education.

All three categories -- public universities, community colleges and private colleges — showed an overall drop in enrollment, according to a report from the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

Illinois State University and the three University of Illinois campuses showed slight increases; all other public schools declined by an average of almost 3 percent compared to last year.   

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has authorized $17 million in emergency funding to help three financially strapped state universities through the end of the year.

The Chicago Tribune reports the board approved the measure unanimously on Wednesday. Under the agreement, Western Illinois University gets $8.4 million, Eastern Illinois University receives about $5.6 million, and Chicago State University gets around $3 million.

The funding can be used only to pay down costs incurred this year.

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