higher education

State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed legislation Friday that would have given nearly $4 billion to higher education and human services providers. The governor called the measure "an empty promise."

The legislation would have paid for substance abuse treatment, autism programs and homelessness prevention. It also included full funding for colleges, universities and tuition waivers for low-income students. 

Illinois Democrats have approved a measure to fully fund tuition grants for low-income students despite Republican concerns the state can't pay for its promises.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday on a 39-15 vote. The bill goes to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner next.

The measure sponsored by Democratic leaders House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton would appropriate about $397 million to colleges and universities for tuition grants under the Monetary Assistance Program.

The plan doesn't include funding for colleges' operational costs.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

A $454 million bill to increase funding for financially struggling Illinois colleges and universities has cleared the state Senate.

Lawmakers approved the bill on a near unanimous vote and sent the measure to the House on Thursday.

Democrats who control the Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been unable to agree on a budget since July 1, and higher education institutions have been forced to lay off staff.

Last month, lawmakers used $600 million left over in an education fund to help colleges make it through the summer.

Students living illegally in the U.S. who struggle to pay for college because they don't qualify for financial aid are urging Illinois lawmakers to make them eligible for state help.

    

Legislation that passed the state Senate this month with bipartisan support would make Illinois among the few states in the country that let immigrant students get financial aid regardless of their legal status.

The measure is awaiting action in the Illinois House.

MAP Grants On Their Way To Illinois Universities

Apr 28, 2016
Jenna Dooley

Illinois' Comptroller says universities will soon receive stopgap MAP grant money.

Leslie Munger says the Illinois Student Assistance Commission sent $164 million dollars in grant vouchers to her office. 

Munger says her office turned around the payments immediately, but she also calls on lawmakers to approve a long-term solution.

“It is critical that they now finish the job and pass a comprehensive balanced budget that allows us to keep our promises not only to students,” Munger said in a news release.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Governor Bruce Rauner today is approving a compromise between Republicans and Democrats that sends emergency money to public universities.

    

But that compromise doesn’t mean the two parties are getting along any better.

This state money is coming just as Chicago State University had said it would close its doors Friday.

The top House Republican Jim Durkin says it took Chicago State’s closing to get Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan to quit playing games.

Illinois college students will march for higher education funding and MAP grants in Springfield next week.

At least 60 students plan to take part in the march. That’s according to the march’s Facebook event.

The “March for MAP” was created by a University of Illinois Springfield student. The event was inspired by the legislature's failure to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto to a bill to fund MAP grants.

Many Illinois community colleges and universities will not cover low-income tuition waivers in the fall, unless they get state money.

    

That's the message from higher education leaders to the state's 125,000 students who are eligible for the monetary assistance program, or MAP, grants.

Public colleges and universities that have so far covered the cost for MAP students are sounding the alarm that they may not continue.

Higher Education Leaders Discuss Budget Fears In Springfield

Mar 10, 2016
State of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers heard Thursday from an assortment of higher education leaders asking for funding.

They used terms like “starving,” “dismantling” and “economic suicide” as they tried to persuade state senators to find some way to heal the budget impasse. 

One of the last witnesses was Eric Zarnikow, director of the state agency that runs the Monetary Award Program. MAP grants help needy college kids with tuition.

Zarnikow quoted his mother, who he says always warned him not to eat the seed corn.

WIUM

Higher education continues to be caught in Illinois lawmakers' political crossfire.

And not just because the House failed to override a veto of legislation that would have allowed at least SOME funding for the first time in eight months.

Lawmakers spent most of yesterday debating how to pay for Illinois' colleges and universities --- with nothing material to show for it by the time they'd adjourned.

Then, once the Capitol cleared out, an evening email from House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown announcing a "new compromise effort."

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