Proposed Education Cuts Raise Concerns on Both Sides
As the cost of going to college continues to rise, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to cut higher education funding by more than 30 percent.
One program already affected by cuts – and likely to be cut even more – is the state's Monetary Award Program for low-income students, known as the MAP grant.
Jennifer Delaney, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Illinois flagship campus, told lawmakers last week that MAP grants now are given on a first-come, first-served basis.
And the students who do get the grants don't receive enough to cover full tuition.
"So those awards now, at my home institution, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, are only covering about 42 (or) 43 percent of the cost,” Delaney said. “And those individual students are left to come up with some other way of filling that gap to just reach tuition levels at the University of Illinois."
The prospect of losing such a big chunk of money has focused attention on how universities manage their budgets, and several Illinois state senators offered suggestions for savings.
Among them is Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who keeps a tally of university academic departments that attract few students.
"We literally -- as taxpayers and student tuition-payers -- are paying to provide, in some circumstances, departments that have four enrollees. Eight enrollees. In some cases, zero enrollees," he said.
Rose says schools should determine their core strengths and target available funds to those departments.
- Illinois Public Radio Education Reporter Dusty Rhodes contributed to this report.