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Higher Education

  • SIU students "sip and spit" their way to in-demand skills

    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.”

  • Parties unite to fund Illinois colleges and students

    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 Hutchinson speaks at a press conference

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

  • Senator Jones speaks at a 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 Trotter speaks at a 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 Lightford speaks at a 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 Biss argues in favor of higher ed funding

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

  • Senator Trotter argues for higher ed funding

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

  • Senator Harris defends 1st Amendment rights

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

  • Senator Delgado speaks in favor of Student Access

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

  • Cunningham passes higher education reform package

    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.”

  • McGuire votes for bill to potentially end budget battle

    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.

  • Senator Trotter argues the value of a budget

    Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) argues the opposition on the floor, imploring them to vote for a higher education budget measure.

  • Munoz helps service members get college credit for military courses

    munoz vets 041216SPRINGFIELD - Service members looking to obtain college credit for military courses may soon have an easier process when transferring credits to a public university or community college in Illinois, under a Senate plan that was approved in committee today.

    The proposal, which passed the higher education committee unanimously, requires the state’s public universities and community colleges to develop a written policy for awarding college credit for military courses taken through the Armed Forces.

  • Martinez initiative for undocumented students advances

    martinez 040516SPRINGFIELD — Undocumented students in Illinois are currently ineligible to receive state-based financial aid.

    Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) is working hard to make sure that changes.

    Under legislation sponsored by Martinez, known as the “Student Access Bill,” undocumented students meeting the conditions necessary to be deemed Illinois residents for tuition purposes would be eligible to access state-based financial aid at Illinois’ four-year public universities.

    “Higher education offers a pathway to a better life, and all qualified students deserve a fair shot at competing for assistance to pay for college,” Martinez said.

    The measure does not require the state to increase spending for higher education or create a new scholarship program. It simply gives public universities the authority to offer financial aid to more students.


    If Martinez’s proposal becomes law, it is estimated that 1,500 students from Illinois’ four-year public universities would receive new scholarship opportunities.

    Financial aid includes any state aid or benefit funded or administered by the state, state agencies, or public institutions and universities, such as scholarships, grants, awards and room and board.

    The legislation does not include access to grants provided through the Monetary Award Program (MAP).

    Senate Bill 2196 is an initiative of the University of Illinois in conjunction with the Latino Policy Forum. Former Gov. Jim Edgar, other elected officials, public universities, business and civic leaders, faith based leaders, labor unions and non-profit organizations back the legislation.

    Martinez passed Senate Bill 2196 out of the Higher Education Committee today.

  • Senator Steans discusses Student Access

    Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) discusses the concept for Student Access at a recent press conference in the Capitol.

  • Senator McGuire discusses Student Access

    Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) discusses the concept for Student Access at a recent press conference in the Capitol.

  • Suburban senators: Save our community colleges

    bush morrison murphy

  • McGuire votes for human services and higher ed lost in budget gap

    McGuire2014squareSPRINGFIELD — A spending plan to restore human services and help shore up Illinois’ embattled higher education system state passed the Illinois Senate today.

    Senate Bill 2059 authorizes the governor to fund programs and services not covered by the court orders and consent decrees that are propelling 90 percent of state spending. This 10 percent gap in the state budget has caused cutbacks in human services and endangered the future of state universities and needy students.

    “This measure can restore Meals on Wheels. It supports the drug, mental health and veterans courts, which are more effective than imprisonment,” McGuire said. “And it signals to students awaiting MAP grants that the state plans to honor its obligation to them.”

    Proponents of the legislation pointed to testimony of Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger in a hearing earlier Thursday of the Senate Appropriations II Committee, of which McGuire is a member.

    “Comptroller Munger made clear that getting in the queue at her office is the essential first step toward a non-profit provider a student, or a vendor getting the funds promised to them,” McGuire said. “Passage of SB 2059 gives the governor the authority to prioritize human services and higher education in the payment line at the Comptroller’s office.”

    The measure now goes to the House for approval. Passage there would send the bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner for his approval.

  • McGuire legislation to strengthen higher ed public-private partnerships

    mcguire map 012816SPRINGFIELD — Legislation to help colleges and universities in Illinois stretch the funding they receive from the state passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday with bipartisan support.

    Senate Bill 3023, sponsored by State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet), chairman of the Higher Education Committee, revitalizes the Higher Education Cooperation Act (HECA) by expanding sources of funding as well as the types of eligible schools.

    “A modernized, expanded HECA means state seed money growing public-private  partnerships,” McGuire said. “These partnerships will boost cooperation between colleges, employers and unions to train Illinois residents for the new economy.”

    The Illinois Board of Higher Education administers HECA, which gives grants to schools to foster innovation in academic and student success programs. However, HECA hasn’t been funded since 2008. SB 3023 will allow IBHE to create public-private partnerships with foundations and the private sector to make these grants larger. SB 2023 also allows the grants to be used at private institutions as well as vocational, non-profit and for-profit schools.

    “Last year Illinois slipped on its way toward the economically necessary goal of 60 percent of our adult workers having a post-secondary credential by 2025,” McGuire said. “Senate Bill 3023 helps get us back on track.”

    SB 2023 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee unopposed and will move to the full Senate for a vote.