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Higher Education

  • mapgrant moneySPRINGFIELD — Thousands of college students and their families are caught in a political power play that State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) hopes to at least partially resolve next week at the Capitol.

    At issue is the state’s primary student aid program – the Monetary Award Program (MAP). More than 100,000 students rely on MAP grants to help pay for school, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the MAP grant budget. This left hanging both the students who rely on them and the schools they attend even as a new academic year begins.

    Biss is among the Senate Democrats pushing to approve a MAP grant budget when the Illinois Senate convenes Wednesday. The Monetary Award Program is the state’s largest need-based grant program to help pay for college. As long as these grants aren’t funded, the economic futures of hundreds of thousands of middle-class and disadvantaged students are at risk.

    “If we are unwilling to come together and sincerely seek to resolve our budget impasse in a fair and sustainable way, what kind of example are we setting for Illinois students?” Biss said. “Surely, we can all get behind a solution that simply seeks to help students realize their potential and support our state’s economic future.”

    The funding proposal would mirror what Rauner recommended in his budget plan. He recommended spending $373.3 million on student financial aid through MAP. The MAP budget he vetoed contained an additional $24 million.

    “Our state’s greatest asset is the talent and potential of so many students from all backgrounds. To squander this potential by not giving a hand up to students in need would be disgraceful,” Biss said.

    The legislation is SB 2043.

  • uofiVILLA PARK- The University of Illinois’ board of trustees voted not to award a $400,000 bonus to resigning Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise, after she was caught sneaking around university rules.

    “I’m glad the university trustees chose to side with taxpayers. The board’s actions show they are willing to take a step in the right direction, but the bonus provisions should have never existed in the first place. It leaves us with a lot of questions as the Senate ponders the nominations of the university trustees,” said State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park). “State-funded universities and community college administrators should not be rewarded for breaking the rules.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant's legislation making college more affordable for veterans becomes law

    SPRINGFIELD - A new law was signed today that will allow veterans attending Illinois colleges and universities to qualify for instate tuition rates.

    “Those who serve our nation deserve our utmost respect,” said Bertino-Tarrant, Senate sponsor of HB3692. “This law will make college more affordable for student veterans who have made significant contributions to our nation.”

    The law applies to veterans attending college through the Pre-9/11 G.I. Bill. Last year, Illinois allowed veterans using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to qualify for in-state tuition. Bertino-Tarrant simply wanted to make sure all veterans utilizing a G.I. Bill program would qualify for in-state tuition.

  • Report details compensation abuses, administrative bloat at state colleges and universities: Cunningham

    Months of work by members of the media and the Illinois General Assembly have culminated in a special report detailing costly administrative practices at our state’s public universities and community colleges. The report brings to light growing administrative costs and generous executive compensation packages that have helped fuel tuition increases for Illinois students.

    "This report found that many public colleges and universities have been too quick to award lavish benefits to their executives and increase the number of administrative employees they assign to non-instructional post," State Senator Bill Cunningham said. "While these practices are never welcome, they are particularly troubling during difficult budgetary times and when college tuition rates have grown faster than any other expenses faced by middle class families."

  • BudgetCuts

  • cunningham-exec-comp