state funding

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State disinvestment in higher education has put a college degree out of reach for many Illinois students. That’s a key finding from a new series of reports from the Partnership for College Completion.

The “Priced Out” reports focus on the three groups most impacted by funding lapses: Black, Latinx and students who live in rural communities.

Last week, Northern Illinois University announced the Huskie Pledge. The grant could cover tuition and fees for a student’s first year and up to four additional years.

The university is now offering more details on what the process will look like for students interested in applying.

Peter Medlin

The organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a report on Thursday on after-school programs.

The report found that the hours immediately following school, between 2 to 6 p.m., when youth are most likely to get in trouble with the law.

It’s been a rough couple of years for Illinois community colleges, from the slashed funds of the budget impasse to concerning enrollment declines. This is the final installment of a three-part series on how these very different schools have stayed afloat by embracing change and, more importantly, putting the "community" in community college.

 

The Kishwaukee table tennis club's practice is in full swing. They're preparing for a tournament coming up soon.

 

It’s been a rough couple of years for Illinois community colleges, from the slashed funds of the budget impasse to concerning enrollment declines. We begin a three-part series on how these very different schools have stayed afloat by embracing change and, more importantly, putting the "community" in community college.

 

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois could soon begin to tackle its massive pile of unpaid bills, thanks to a move Thursday by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Rauner is moving ahead with a bond issue — borrowing about $6 billion dollars — to pay off various state vendors immediately. The move should save Illinois hundreds of millions of dollars a year in late penalties.

Rauner says he’s going to look for other ways to cut spending in order to pay off the bonds. Democrats, like Rep. Greg Harris from Chicago, say they worry Rauner will target human service providers like he did during the budget stalemate.

cps.edu

In a sign the stalemate in Springfield is as strong as ever, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that once  had been held up as proof he and Democratic leaders were capable of working together.

The action leaves politicians divided, and it could leave the financially-ailing Chicago Public Schools short some $215 million.

Republicans got on board with sending CPS extra money, but Rauner said he'd only sign it into law if legislators passed another, even bigger bill by the New Year to reduce the state's pension costs.

Community colleges in Illinois say they've cut frills, suspended travel, and even laid off teachers. Now, they need state lawmakers to come through with funding.

That was the gist of a letter sent last week from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents​ to the governor and legislative leaders.

So far, they say they’ve gotten zero response. Tom Ramage, president of both the council and Parkland College, says there’s little left to cut.

Illinois' community colleges have been struggling to make ends meet without a state budget for nearly a year. For some, the cutbacks they've had to make could mean the loss of federal dollars, too.

      

Community colleges use a combination of federal and state funds to provide adult education classes that help people pass the GED.

Normally, the state provides 32 million dollars, and the federal government kicks in about 23 million dollars — but that’s based on the state’s ability to prove its programs work. 

Many Illinois community colleges and universities will not cover low-income tuition waivers in the fall, unless they get state money.

    

That's the message from higher education leaders to the state's 125,000 students who are eligible for the monetary assistance program, or MAP, grants.

Public colleges and universities that have so far covered the cost for MAP students are sounding the alarm that they may not continue.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

The budget stalemate has meant no state funding this year for state universities, community colleges and Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. A central Illinois Republican says he has a solution.

State Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet proposes restoring higher education funding, although somewhat lower than in the past. His proposal would fund state universities at 80% of last year’s levels and community college at 90%; MAP grant funding would remain at the same level as last year.

Darrell Hoemann / Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

University of Illinois Trustees have unanimously approved freezing tuition rates for the second straight year for in-state freshman. 

Tuition and fees will go up by less than 0.1 percent on the Urbana campus, and remain flat in Springfield and Chicago. 

Room and board rates will increase by $300 or less on all three campuses.

Trustees approved tuition rates even as they learned the school has covered $671 million in expenses because of the lack of a state budget.