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Higher Education

  • 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)

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

  • College students descend on Capitol (VIDEO)

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  • Van Pelt meets with UIC students on MAP grant, higher ed funding

    pvp hied mapSPRINGFIELD — Today, State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) met with students from the University of Illinois-Chicago, who were participating in Illinois Public University Student Lobby Day. Senator Van Pelt and students discussed various higher education funding issues.

    Senator Van Pelt, earlier this summer, was one of 37 Senators who voted to pass Senate Bill 2043, appropriating $373 million in general revenue funds for MAP grants. The bill is currently in House Rules Committee.

    “MAP grant funding is absolutely essential for students throughout state, who may not be able to fully fund their education,” Senator Van Pelt said. “I have and will continue to support MAP grant funding, as well as other alternatives to assist with funding, such as The American Opportunity Tax Credit and The Lifetime Learning Credit.”

    Earlier this year, Senator Van Pelt joined US Congressman Danny K. Davis (D) in encouraging current and future students to look into a variety of tax break options available to ease the financial burden of higher education. Together they launched #TaxBreaks4Students campaign, designed to highlight the programs available to those paying for higher education.

  • Final Senate higher education hearing warns of students lost in limbo (VIDEO)

    Final Senate higher education hearing warns of students lost in limbo

    hi ed hrngs eiuCHARLESTON — As students prepare to register for their spring classes, they are unsure what the absence of a state higher education budget means for them.

    When Eastern Illinois University’ student government board assembled at the start of the school year, they didn’t think they would have to worry about the state’s budget. Their main concern was finding innovative ways to get other students involved in on-campus organizations.

    Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) assembled the panel for its final scheduled hearing to hear from students like Jose Durbin, who are the future of higher education and our state government: He wants to be a state senator one day.

    Durbin has already started looking at private loans that will end up being more expensive for him in the long run.

    “Our public higher education institutions prepare our students to be the future leaders of Illinois,” said Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “It’s heartbreaking to hear students’ struggles as they work toward meeting their tuition costs and calculating budgets for their student organizations. We need to put a budget in place to guarantee students have the services and support they need to be successful.”

    Every year, thousands of Illinois students take advantage of this vital state funding to help pay for the opportunity to receive a higher education. The average student with a MAP grant receives about $2,700 to help pay for tuition. As college costs continue to skyrocket in Illinois, these grants are vital to the sustainability of many students’ college careers.

    Twenty percent — about 2,600 — of students at EIU rely on state assistance to cover their tuition expenses.

    "We tell students from kindergarten on to study hard and get good grades so they can go to college," McGuire said. "We're hypocrites if we then allow the governor to pull the financial aid rug out from under them."

    The Senate did pass funding for the state’s financial student assistance program, the Monetary Award Program (MAP). However, the House has yet to approve the funding.

  • Final Senate higher education hearing warns of students lost in limbo

    Final Senate higher education hearing warns of students lost in limbo

    hi ed hrngs eiuCHARLESTON — As students prepare to register for their spring classes, they are unsure what the absence of a state higher education budget means for them.

    When Eastern Illinois University’ student government board assembled at the start of the school year, they didn’t think they would have to worry about the state’s budget. Their main concern was finding innovative ways to get other students involved in on-campus organizations.

    Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) assembled the panel for its final scheduled hearing to hear from students like Jose Durbin, who are the future of higher education and our state government: He wants to be a state senator one day.

    Durbin has already started looking at private loans that will end up being more expensive for him in the long run.

    “Our public higher education institutions prepare our students to be the future leaders of Illinois,” said Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “It’s heartbreaking to hear students’ struggles as they work toward meeting their tuition costs and calculating budgets for their student organizations. We need to put a budget in place to guarantee students have the services and support they need to be successful.”

    Every year, thousands of Illinois students take advantage of this vital state funding to help pay for the opportunity to receive a higher education. The average student with a MAP grant receives about $2,700 to help pay for tuition. As college costs continue to skyrocket in Illinois, these grants are vital to the sustainability of many students’ college careers.

    Twenty percent — about 2,600 — of students at EIU rely on state assistance to cover their tuition expenses.

    "We tell students from kindergarten on to study hard and get good grades so they can go to college," McGuire said. "We're hypocrites if we then allow the governor to pull the financial aid rug out from under them."

    The Senate did pass funding for the state’s financial student assistance program, the Monetary Award Program (MAP). However, the House has yet to approve the funding.