higher education

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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.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission reports a drop in submitted financial aid applications compared to 2015, but also says it may be too soon to tell.

That’s because the FAFSA filing period for next school year opened early on Oct. 1, rather than January.

Those who apply will use their 2015 tax information and will not need to update it with their 2016 taxes.

Community colleges in Illinois say they've cut frills, suspended travel, and even laid off teachers. Now, they need state lawmakers to come through with funding.

That was the gist of a letter sent last week from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents​ to the governor and legislative leaders.

So far, they say they’ve gotten zero response. Tom Ramage, president of both the council and Parkland College, says there’s little left to cut.

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.

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