Senate passes additional funding for higher education

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) voted May 5 to bring all higher education funding up to the same level that Democrat leaders had previously pushed through for just one Chicago-area university.                     

“All of our universities and colleges are just as important as Chicago State University,” said Sen. Syverson. “This is a major win that we were able to bring the entire higher education system, including Northern Illinois University and our community colleges, up to 60% funding.”

Senate Bill 2048 uses $454 million freed up through forgiveness of inter-fund borrowing to help fund state universities, community colleges, and MAP grant scholarships.

Senate Bill 2059, recently signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner, provided just 31% funding to state universities, 27% to community colleges, and just under 43% for MAP grants. But the legislation gave the scandal-plagued Chicago State University a whopping 60% of its Fiscal Year 2015 funding.

Combined, the two bills would provide a total of more than $1 billion dollars for higher education, providing a level 60% funding for the entire system. The new money may not be available immediately to colleges and universities, but it will the place the institutions in line to be paid.

“This provides a much more fair level to all of our colleges and universities, and will help more low-income students stay in school,” said Sen. Syverson. “My hope is that we can use the momentum from this compromise to finally reach an agreement on a complete and balanced budget, along with adequate revenue, while providing much-needed reforms to state government.”

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