Higher Education Coalition Makes Funding Push in Springfield

Higher Education Coalition Makes Funding Push in Springfield

Springfield – The time is now for legislators and the governor to find a solution for the stalemate over higher education funding as colleges and universities face a growing crisis in its eighth month, a statewide coalition announced on Monday.

Local members of the Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education hosted a news conference at the University of Illinois-Springfield to outline what’s at stake in the ongoing funding stalemate and how that is affecting and will affect campuses around the state. Group Unites to Urge Lawmakers, Governor to Solve Months-Long Funding Stalemate.

The Coalition is a collection of business, labor, and organizations representing public and private colleges and universities coming together to urge immediate action. Illinois universities and colleges have gone without hundreds of millions of dollars in MAP grants and operational funding since July, and aid has not been included in relief packages approved by legislators and the governor since the summer while they have not reached agreement on a full-year budget.

The Coalition kicked off its push in January with a Statehouse news conference, and this local event was one of several around the state designed to raise awareness of the funding crisis and build pressure on policymakers for a solution. Coalition members discussed a number of problems facing Illinois campuses from the ongoing lack of funding and uncertainty about when funding will be approved, including:

· Students being unable to graduate or continue classes because their Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants that let them afford college are held up
· Prospective students – in and outside Illinois – choosing out-of-state colleges because of the funding uncertainty here
· Classes and programs being closed or suspended until funding is restored
· Employees being laid off
· Cuts creating long-term consequences for campuses – losing students and faculty/staff talent to other competitors, and projects being delayed that will cost more to complete later

The Coalition delivered a clear message: higher education cannot afford more funding delays from Springfield.

“There is much more we need to do to keep the dream of college alive for Illinois students, and doing so requires the State of Illinois at the table making strong investments in our kids, along with the federal government,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. „From increasing Pell Grants to allowing student loans to be refinanced, I’m working to ensure the federal government is making smart investments in higher education that will help students succeed.”
(Higher Education Coalition)

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