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Universities finally get state funding under Senate Democrats’ budget

 universities

End of stalemate awaits House passage, governor’s signature

SPRINGFIELD — After two years of crisis management because of the lack of state funding, Illinois universities would finally be in line for a full year of funding under a balanced budget the Illinois Senate recently approved.

The Senate deal also restores the student financial aid Monetary Award Program to the state’s budget in an effort to continue educational opportunities for children of working-class families.

“Our universities have a proud tradition of educational and economic leadership, and what the state has done to them the past two years is nothing short of shameful,” said Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton. “I wish we could do more for these schools, but this stops the bleeding, ends the chaos and begins to rebuild the state’s commitment to the state’s universities.”

The balanced budget that recently passed the Illinois Senate includes the following resources for the state’s public universities.

  • $21.6 million for Governor’s State University.
  • $32.7 million for Chicago State University.
  • $33.2 million for Northeastern Illinois University.
  • $38.7 million for Eastern Illinois University.
  • $46.3 million for Western Illinois University.
  • $65 million for Illinois State University.
  • $82 million for Northern Illinois University.
  • $179.6 million for Southern Illinois University.
  • $582.4 million for the University of Illinois.

This funding is for the state budget year that runs from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. The universities haven’t had a full budget from the state since the 2015 budget year and had been trying to maintain student services and staff despite losing hundreds of millions of dollars in state support. The Senate budget reverses that and restores the schools to levels approaching those of the 2015 budget.

In addition, the Senate’s balanced budget provides $364 million to fund MAP grants. These funds have been promised to students but not released because of the budget impasse.

“This plan provides the long overdue stability of a full year of funding for universities and makes good on the MAP grants we promised students,” said Cullerton. “I urge the House to pass it and the governor to sign it as soon as possible.”

The balanced budget requires a favorable vote in the Illinois House and the governor’s signature to take effect. The General Assembly’s spring session faces a Wednesday, May 31 deadline for action.