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Higher Education

  • 050216CM0431SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that will help high schools in Illinois better prepare their students for the 21st century workforce passed the Senate today.

    The measure, called the 2016 Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act, would require districts that participate to develop a model for better college and career preparedness and a curriculum that aligns with that model. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) said that a more knowledgeable workforce is vital for Illinois’ future.

    “Illinois has made it a priority that by 2025, 60 percent of the adult workforce will have a post-secondary credential, whether that’s a college diploma or an advanced training certificate,” said McGuire, the act’s chief co-sponsor. “That means everyone who graduates from high school must be ready to move ahead by learning more.”

    To address that, the legislation requires participating districts to develop “pathways” for students to earn college credit in mathematics. Students would then choose a pathway that aligns with their college or career goals, such as STEM, other technical fields or data analysis. Other provisions in the act include development of industry sector endorsements on diplomas to show that graduates have taken coursework that prepares them for their intended career path and opportunities to earn credit outside of school, such as an internship or work experience.

    “Education is becoming like a series of extension ladders,” McGuire said. “Preschool now overlaps with grade school, grade school with high school and high school with college. That’s how our students and our state will continue to climb.”

    House Bill 5729, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) passed both chambers unopposed and now awaits the governor’s signature.

  • 031016CM0079SPRINGFIELD — With nearly the entire academic year passed, thousands of college students in Illinois who rely upon Monetary Award Program grants will finally be made whole, thanks to legislation passed by the Illinois Senate today.

    House Bill 4167 authorizes the spending of $227 million for MAP grants for the 2015-16 academic year. When coupled with Senate Bill 2059, which was signed into law last month, the bills represent the original appropriation for MAP in the 2016 budget year. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet), who has been on the forefront of the fight for MAP funding, was a chief co-sponsor of HB 4167.

    “Last week I was at the commencements of Joliet Junior College and Governors State University. Both schools have many students awaiting the full amount of need-based financial aid the state promised them,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Passage of HB 4167 gets us two-thirds of the way toward keeping our word to these students. The governor now has the opportunity to take the final step.”

    Without a proper higher education budget in place, colleges and universities fronted MAP money to students during the first semester. But a number of schools indicated that they couldn’t continue doing so for the second semester, leaving students to choose whether to go deeper into debt with more student loans or quit school altogether.

    “Making almost 130,000 needy college students uncertain if they can continue their education makes Illinois’ future uncertain,” McGuire said. “Let’s wise up, support hard work and ambition, and fully fund MAP grants.”

    HB 4167, having passed the House earlier this week, now goes to the governor’s desk.

  • Hastings votes to help higher educationSPRINGFIELD – Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) voted to send emergency funding to state universities and community colleges.

    Senate Bill 2048 would ensure that all state universities, community colleges and MAP grants would receive some emergency funding to help with the current fiscal year. This is in addition to the Senate Bill 2059 which also sent emergency appropriations.

    “Amidst our budget standoff, schools like Governor’s State and Chicago State were being starved and forced to make unfortunate decisions,” Hastings said. “Though a full higher education budget is still necessary, this will allow schools to continue to educate our students without making drastic decisions that only harm our students.”

    The legislation would also send funding to schools that accept MAP grants to pay for a portion of the amounts that were awarded prior to the start of the fiscal year.

    The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration

  • Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) speaks at a bipartisan press conference on legislation bringing higher education funding to 60% for FY2016.


  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) speaks to SB 2048, which would bring higher education funding to 60% for public colleges and universities for FY2016.


  • CSUGrad04282016

    More than 800 Chicago State University students received their diplomas Thursday in an early ceremony moved up weeks for fear the school would run out of money and shut down due to an ongoing state budget impasse.

    A last-minute, $600-million higher education deal will, for now, keep the doors open at Chicago State, Eastern Illinois University and other state schools. But the stop gap plan isn’t enough to offset the long-term damage that’s been done as the schools have gone nearly a year without any state support. Layoffs and program cuts are still expected at Chicago State and other schools.

    Senator Emil Jones III was at Thursday’s graduation ceremonies – the 358th commencement for the nearly 150-year-old university. As happy as he is for the CSU graduates, he’s equally concerned for the underclassmen who increasingly are victimized by the budget showdown that began when Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected the entire higher education budget last year.

  • sb2059 signed

  • sb2059 signed

  • fermentationt kettlesThe burgeoning fermentation sciences program at Southern Illinois University got a boost earlier this week, thanks to State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet).

    A provision in Senate Bill 2824, which passed the Senate earlier this week, gives students in the program aged 18-20 the ability to taste — but not drink — samples of their work during class, a concept called “sip and spit.”

  • 042116 js 0528CLState Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) today heralded passage of a measure designed to keep all Illinois public community colleges and universities open and assist low-income students. Senate Bill 2059 won overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Illinois House and Senate. The bill now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has promised to sign it.

    “Democrats and Republicans today recognized everyone would lose if any of Illinois’ nine public universities and 48 public community colleges were forced to close due to the budget impasse,” McGuire said. “This unprecedented agreement among all four legislative caucuses and the governor is a big step toward ensuring Illinois higher education continues uninterrupted, benefiting students, their families, employees of public and private colleges and universities, college towns, and ultimately the future of our state.”

    Senate Bill 2059 provides $74 million to community colleges, $356 million to nine public universities, and $169 million for Monetary Award Program grants to more than 128,000 low-income students.

    McGuire expressed hope that passage of this emergency funding for this budget year, which began last July 1, means higher education funding for the 2017 budget year will be adequate and on-time.

    “I hope all of us in Springfield learned a lesson,” McGuire said. “Stubbornness and bickering put families through hell and risk Illinois getting back to full strength. I look forward to returning to Springfield on May 2 and continuing the better way of governing we achieved passing Senate Bill 2059.”

  • Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.


  • Senator Emil Jones (D-Chicago) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.


  • Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.


  • Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.


  • Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) argues in favor of a higher education funding plan on the Senate Floor.


  • Senator Donne Trotter(D-Chicago) argues in favor of a higher education funding plan on the Senate Floor.


  • Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) argues in favor of his proposal to protect the first amendment rights of student athletes.


  • Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) gives a floor speech arguing in support of Senate Bill 2196.


  • cunningham hiedcompLegislation product of investigation into perks for higher education presidents

    SPRINGFIELD—Community colleges and state universities may see a lot of changes coming soon when it comes to administration pay and severance packages.

    State Senator Bill Cunningham proposed a reform package after the Senate Democratic Caucus Report on Higher Education Executive Compensation revealed lavish perks, golden parachutes and a lack of transparency in hiring and firing of administrators.

    “This was about taking steps to protect taxpayers and tuition payers from abuse by college and university administration,” Cunningham said. “Lavish perks, like country club memberships, were forcing students to pay more and taxpayers to cover more costs when tuition was not enough.”

  • 040716CM0732CLSPRINGFIELD — Today, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that closes an open wound in the 2016 budget.

    Some 90 percent of the state budget is being spent because of various court orders and decrees. However, the 10 percent of the budget for higher education and many human services remains unfunded. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) joined his colleagues voting to fund the missing 10 percent.

    “Our higher education and human service organizations are on the brink of collapse,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “We have given the governor yet another opportunity to stand with Illinois’ neediest college students and most vulnerable residents.

    “I hope that he makes the right choice this time.”

    In addition to funding MAP grants and operations for the state’s post-secondary schools, Senate Bill 2046 authorizes the governor to release over $470 million for the Department of Human Services to fund addiction treatment, mental health services and other necessary programs.

    SB 2046, having passed the Illinois House on Tuesday, now goes to the governor’s desk.