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Higher Education

  • Legislation to strengthen higher ed public-private partnerships

    031016CM0111CLSPRINGFIELD — 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.

  • Colleges, IBHE sound warning at budget hearing

    mcguire 031016SPRINGFIELD — During a meeting of a key Senate budget panel Thursday, officials from the Illinois Board of Higher Education as well as several state universities testified to the dire state of higher education in Illinois.

    Colleges and universities have not had state funding in place since last summer, and the governor’s proposal for the next budget year would slash funding by 22 percent compared to 2015. State Senator Pat McGuire, a member of the Senate Appropriations II Committee as well as chairman of the Higher Education Committee, echoed the concerns of those who testified.

    “Dr. Applegate was right to describe starving Illinois higher education as ‘economic suicide,’ ” McGuire said, referring to IBHE Executive Director Dr. Jim Applegate.

  • Murphy votes to cut administrative perks, increase oversight of community colleges

    murphy hiedSPRINGFIELD – Several pieces of legislation passed through the Senate Committee on Higher Education as a result of the College of DuPage scandal that has unfolded over the last few months.

    State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) was a supporter of all of the legislation, which seek to increase transparency at community colleges and cut down on expensive perks for college officials.

    “Community colleges are great resources for thousands of students around the state. They are not opportunities for bureaucrats to take advantage of hundreds of thousands of dollars of student and taxpayer money,” Murphy said.

    The proposals, which passed the subcommittee today, will now head to a hearing in front of the full Senate Public Higher Education Committee. They include:

    Senate Bill 2155 – Requires the auditor general to audit one-third of all community colleges every year

    Senate Bill 2156 – Prevents perks, such as room and board expenses, from being classified as pensionable earnings

    Senate Bill 2157 – Requires four hours of professional training for new community college board trustees

    Senate Bill 2158 – Prohibits community college boards from entering new employee contracts 45 days prior to Election Day for trustees

    Senate Bill 2159 – Requires contract terms and annual performance reviews to increase transparency, and also forbids contract buyouts in cases of pending criminal charges

    Senate Bill 2174 – Requires four hours of professional training for all voting members of a university governing board


  • McGuire votes to restore funding for MAP grants (UPDATED)

    012816CM0908CLUPDATE 5:31 PM 03/02/2016:

    SPRINGFIELD — Following the House’s failure to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2043 on Wednesday, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) released the following statement:

    “What the override sought to do was to authorize the governor to make releasing MAP grants a priority. The governor rejected this opportunity. My work to secure funding for Illinois' needy students, community colleges, and nine public universities will continue.”



    SPRINGFIELD — More than 100,000 college students in Illinois have struggled to pay for their education during the past seven months because of the governor’s repeated broken promises to them. Today, the Illinois State Senate voted to restore some hope to those students.

    State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet), chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, has been on the forefront of the charge to fund Monetary Award Program grants, which help thousands of low-income students across the state pay for their education.

    “Governor Rauner’s refusal to honor the commitment he made to these students has thrown into jeopardy the future that they envisioned when they enrolled,” McGuire said. “It’s imperative that the MAP grants they were promised get into their hands so they can concentrate on their education, not how they are going to pay for it.”

    Today, the Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, which not only funds MAP grants for the 2015-16 academic year but also includes money for community colleges and career-technical and adult education as well. SB 2043 passed both chambers in January, and the governor vetoed it last month. The motion to override now heads to the Illinois House for final approval.

    “Students and our academic institutions as well have been pushed to the brink,” McGuire said. “I trust that my colleagues in the House understand this and vote appropriately.”

  • Cunningham pushes higher education compensation reform agenda

    cunningham hiedcompSPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, Senator Bill Cunningham urged his colleagues on the Higher Education Committee to pass legislation that would reform the financial practices surrounding how higher education administration is compensated.

    The reforms were launched after a report revealed inappropriate financial practices occurring at institutions of higher education, including the recent scandal at the College of DuPage.

    “Our institutions of higher learning throughout Illinois have continued to be plagued by controversies involving excessive compensation for college administrators, which only cost the taxpayers and the students more money,” Cunningham said.

  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of MAP, college funding (AUDIO)


  • McGuire urges governor to keep his promise to college students

    021616CM0549SPRINGFIELD — With dozens of students and other higher education supporters gathered for support, Senate Democrats delivered to the governor today legislation giving him the authority to honor his commitment to lower-income college students.

    After a press conference about the need for Monetary Award Program grants, State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) helped personally walk Senate Bill 2043 to the governor’s office.

    “Over 125,000 of Illinois’ neediest college students need ASAP the financial aid the state promised them,” said McGuire, chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “The governor’s repeated refusal to authorize these students’ MAP grants is causing havoc in homes and on campuses throughout Illinois.”

    SB 2043 includes MAP grants for the 2015-16 academic year as well as funding for community colleges and career-technical and adult education. It gained approval from both the House and Senate last month and awaits the governor’s signature.

    “Governor Rauner chose to fund K-12 education. He saw the light on pre-K education, McGuire said. “SB 2043 now gives the governor the opportunity to support post-secondary education.

    “For everyone’s good, I hope he will,” McGuire said.

  • A second chance for students … Senate to deliver MAP plan to Gov. Rauner

    map grant mrSPRINGFIELD --Today, the Illinois Senate will deliverSenate Bill 2043 to the governor’s office. A news conference regarding the delivery of the legislation is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Capitol media briefing room.

    That legislation provides the governor with the spending authority needed to honor his administration’s commitment to students regarding the Monetary Award Program (MAP) financial aid grants.

    Even as the Senate was giving final approval to SB 2043 on Jan. 28,  Gov. Bruce Rauner threatened to veto the legislation just as he had in June. In response, Senate President JohnCullerton announced the Senate would hold the legislation for a couple weeks in the hope the governor would reconsider.

  • Sen. Van Pelt's own MAP Grant story

    Senator Patricia Van Pelt shares her personal experience with MAP grants and the lasting effect her education had on her life on January 28, 2016.

  • Sen. Trotter discusses MAP Grant funding

    Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) discusses his sponsorship of SB 2043 and the importance of MAP grant funding on the Senate floor on January 28, 2016.

  • Sen. McGuire speaks to the importance of MAP Grants

    Higher Education Committee chair Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) speaks to the importance of MAP grants on the Senate chamber floor on January 28, 2016.

  • McGuire helps pass MAP grant legislation

    012816CM0908CLToday, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 2043, which funds Monetary Award Program grants for the 2015-16 academic year as well provides money for community colleges and vocational and GED training as well. State Senator Pat McGuire rose on the Senate floor in support of the legislation. Below is the audio of his speech.

    UPDATE 2:07 p.m. Jan. 28:

    McGuire helps pass MAP grant legislation

    SPRINGFIELD — Thousands of college students in Illinois who have been without their promised financial aid for months are now a step closer to receiving it.

    State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) voted to pass Senate Bill 2043, which authorizes full funding of Monetary Award Program grants for the 2015-16 academic year.

    “These students have faith that earning a degree will help them and our state flourish,” McGuire said. “They also have faith – which I heard expressed at four hearings across Illinois – that the state of Illinois will fulfill its promise to help them pay for college. The General Assembly voted today to honor that. Now it’s the governor’s turn.”

    Last May, the General Assembly passed MAP grant legislation, which the governor vetoed. And in August, SB 2043 stalled in the House. This version of SB 2043 that passed the House on Thursday not only includes MAP grant funding but money for community colleges and career-technical and adult education as well.

    With the Senate’s final approval Thursday, the measure now goes to the governor.

  • McGuire works to unblock college financial aid

    032114 js 0204CL rA measure to immediately release $168 million to benefit thousands of college students in Illinois has been filed in the Illinois State Senate.

    State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and the sponsor of Senate Bill 2226, which would cover the costs that colleges and universities around the state absorbed last fall fronting Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants that their students depend on.

    “Illinois needs to invest in the higher education of its residents in order to get back to full strength,” McGuire said. “Failing to provide the financial aid for which 130,000 students qualified threatens those students, the schools they attend, and the future of our state.

    Twice in 2015, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to fund MAP:

    • House Bill 4146 was passed in May. It increased MAP funding but was vetoed by the governor.
    • In August, the Senate returned to Springfield to pass SB 2043, which appropriated the governor’s original request. That legislation remains pending in the Illinois House.

    During the fall semester, colleges and universities around the state took on the cost of the absent MAP grants. However, dozens of schools recently said they can’t do the same for the current spring semester.

    “MAP isn’t about athletics, new buildings, faculty positions, or administrators’ pensions,” McGuire said. “MAP is about the opportunity to learn. It’s about students who want to do more in life for themselves and their state.”

    SB 2226 will be in committee for debate soon and goes into effect immediately on passage.

  • Martinez stresses urgency of funding college grants

    martinez map ftrpic

  • Sen. McGuire speaks at MAP Grant Rally

    At a rally with more than 300 college students, Sen. Pat McGuire speaks in favor of restoring funds for MAP Grants.

  • McGuire joins rally to restore MAP grant funding (VIDEO, AUDIO)

    mcguire maprallyAcross the country, tuition costs and students loans are soaring, but in Illinois, the problem has been further compounded by another issue. Students who receive financial aid from the state’s Monetary Award Program remain in limbo because the governor vetoed their funding.

    Public colleges and universities have been fronting the costs to cover the MAP grants through the fall semester, but have indicated that generous gesture simply cannot continue. Last year, MAP grants assisted over 136,000 students in affording college.

    Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is the chairman of the Higher Education Committee, and has been a vocal advocate for these students.

  • SIU students voice budget concerns to Senate Dems

    manar forby ftr

  • Cunningham: Reform needed in higher education to help reduce tuition costs

    cunningham bkgrd chksCHICAGO – In an effort to reduce administrative costs and help hold the line on college tuition growth, State Senator Bill Cunningham (D-18) has proposed a series of reforms in how higher education executives in Illinois are compensated. These reforms were sparked by a report revealing inappropriate practices, including the recent scandals at the College of DuPage.

    “Institutions of higher learning in our state have been plagued by recent controversies involving mismanagement or misconduct by college presidents, which cost taxpayers and tuition-payers millions of dollars in legal fees and severance payouts," Cunningham said. "We need to reform our laws to ensure more transparency and accountability in the administration of our public colleges and universities."

    Legislation proposed by the senator would create more transparency in the hiring and contracting process for executives by requiring the terms of contracts to be publicly disclosed before being approved. Legislation also would make it so that perks that are often given to university presidents, such as car and housing allowances, could not count as pensionable income.

    “Illinois has several excellent institutions of higher learning," Cunningham said. "It's disappointing that we need to focus on these negative issues. But it is necessary that we learn from past transgressions and reform our laws to ensure that Illinois colleges and universities are above board in all of their financial practices.”

    Cunningham’s reform package, Senate Bills 2155-2159 are currently in the State Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education Executive Compensation, which is chaired by Senator Cunningham.

  • Students visit Senator Mulroe, make plea for MAP Grant Funding (AUDIO)

    mulroe highed map groupSPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state visited the state capitol building today to encourage legislators to fully fund the higher education and MAP Grant line items for the FY16 budget. Victoria Prince is a University of Illinois student from Chicago. As a MAP Grant recipient, she was one of the students on hand today at the capitol to explain her need for MAP grants.

    “My freshman year I received almost $5,000 from the MAP Grant,” Prince said. “It really helped me afford school and I don’t think I would have selected to stay in state without it. I know a lot of stories about how tuition out of state is better just because they have more financial aid than Illinois is currently providing; so that’s why I think higher education is so important, to keep a lot of students in Illinois and keep up Illinois’ economy.”

    State colleges and universities have been fronting the bill for MAP Grants for the first semester of the school year, but college and university presidents have advised the General Assembly that their facilities can no longer shoulder that burden as they move into the spring semester.

    Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) was an early advocate for higher education funding in the spring.

    “As the son of an immigrant, I understand first-hand how difficult it is to pay for higher education,” Mulroe said. “Unfortunately, times have changed and you simply cannot work and go to college anymore. These kids are working two to three jobs on top of the financial aid they receive. We can’t break our promise to them.”

    The General Assembly passed HB 4146, but the measure was vetoed by the governor. A second funding measure, SB2043 remains in the House.

  • Hastings shares students' concern over cuts to universities

    hutch hastings govstateTINLEY PARK- As lawmakers returned to Springfield for Tuesday’s session, so did bus loads of college students. They came to the capital to discuss their concerns over the cuts to higher education that the governor has proposed. The dramatic cuts to state universities and MAP grants could cause tuition rates and class sizes to rise, as well as force colleges to cut staff and administrative positions.  

    State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) had the opportunity to speak with students from Governor’s State University, located near the 19th district.

    “Governor’s State is an incredible university that prides itself on offering affordable tuition. If these cuts are implemented that would severely limit their ability to continue offering it,” Hastings said. “Cutting funding to universities would absolutely devastate the higher education system in Illinois.”

    This year, Senator Hastings and his colleagues voted multiple times to fund Illinois universities and MAP grants, but all of these measures failed to be signed into law.