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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois College Students, Residents Call For State To Fund Higher Education

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Chants broke out several times during a rally at the MLK Commons of Northern Illinois University's campus.

Illinois college students and DeKalb community members gathered Thursday to press lawmakers to make sure MAP grants are fully funded.

Students raised signs with messages like “End our dread – fund Higher Ed.”

Different speakers shared their experiences and urged people to reach out to their local lawmakers.

Students from Governors State University traveled to NIU to join the conversation. 

Derrick Brown, one of the visiting protestors, says MAP grants, which help students pay for college, are a bridge to a successful future. He says lawmakers need to take action to make sure they’re funded.

“It also allows students to reach whatever dream that they have using this as a stepping rail," Brown said. "So let’s fund these dreams, let’s fund these stepping grounds, let’s fund to do whatever it is that we need to do for our students."

Erica Vivaldo is an NIU student and grant recipient. She says the community needs to work together to stress the importance of funding higher education. 

“We need to, I think maybe, collaborate with everybody that’s affected and push for our legislators to vote and [be] holding those who aren’t here today accountable. And trying to get them to see this side of the story," Vivaldo said.

More than 5,000 students receive MAP grants at NIU alone. The state's public universities continue to operate with partial state funding.

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