Illinois universities

A major credit agency raised debt ratings and affirmed others for seven Illinois universities in response to the state finally passing an annual budget.

S&P Global Ratings raised its debt ratings for Southern Illinois University, Governors State University, Northeastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. It also affirmed ratings for the University of Illinois, Illinois State University and Western Illinois University.

EIU

Illinois has tapped nearly $700 million in existing funds to make the first payment to colleges and universities they've received in seven months.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced the payment Thursday.

It includes $327 million owed for the needs-based Monetary Award Program for 110,000 college students for the past school year.

The Democrat made the announcement in Charleston. She presented a nearly $6 million payment to Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman.

ilcampaign.org

Higher education has been among the areas feeling the state budget impasse as funding has been cut.  It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees and, in some cases, close for several days.

But a review of enrollment indicates small and mid-sized public universities are taking a double hit.  

Wikimedia Commons

Public universities in Illinois once again are being forced to plan to operate without state funding after going nearly the entire 2015-2016 school year without receiving any support amid the budget standoff between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature's Democratic leaders.

The Herald & Review reports that a six-month spending plan which has kept schools afloat runs out Dec. 31. There's no indication Rauner and top Democrats are close to reaching a deal on a budget for the rest of the school year.

IBHE

During the recent state budget impasse, Illinois colleges and universities have been forced to scrape by without state funding, except for stop gap money designed to keep them open through the fall semester. But that may not satisfy accreditation agencies. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says the Higher Learning Commission may just home in on the fact that Illinois schools are missing what schools in other states have: a solid budget.

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