SPRINGFIELD – On April 22, both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation aimed at keeping colleges and universities open through the fall. In addition, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to provide funding to keep many human service programs operating. The stopgap measures were compromises forged by rank-and-file legislators using existing state resources as funding sources, according to State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“This legislation is far from ideal, providing limited funding for struggling schools including Illinois State, but it will get them through to the fall months when tuition money starts coming in,” said Sen. Barickman. “The human services funding represents a lifeline to save programs that are incredibly important to some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Senate Bill 2059 appropriates $600 million from the Educational Assistance Fund toward colleges, universities and MAP grants. Illinois State University would receive just under $21 million, and more than $74 million is headed to the Community College Board to fund community colleges statewide. Nearly $170 million would be dedicated to MAP grants to help low-income students pay for college.
The compromise legislation is the result of bipartisan discussions between lawmakers behind-the-scenes, as well as intense pressure from legislators who represent colleges and Universities. Governor Bruce Rauner has signaled that he plans to sign the legislation into law.
Senate Bill 2047 adds $441 million from the Human Services Fund to help a wide variety of programs throughout the state. That bill is now headed to the Illinois House for consideration.
“This shows what we can do when we work together in good faith,” said Sen. Barickman. “But now we need to make sure these are just the first steps toward a real long-term solution.”