Some Illinois Community Colleges Worried About Financial Future
While Illinois has been operating without a budget, community colleges have stayed open. But some say without state funding, they can’t hold out much longer.
Public universities have been tapping their reserves to get by. But community colleges typically don’t have deep cushions.
While a large chunk of their funding comes from local property taxes, Tom Ramage, president of Parkland College, says these smaller institutions can’t survive without state dollars.
“Shortly into the spring semester — let’s call it January, February, maybe March for some — there will be colleges that won’t have enough money to operate. They will be reduced to a handful of faculty and a few students in a building that they can’t afford to pay for the lights.” Ramage said.
Other officials say a budget deal is possible as soon as January. But few are willing to predict how higher education will fare.
Ramage says his school is moving ahead on the assumption there will be no state funds coming this fiscal year. Lawmakers are scheduled to meet on Wednesday.