Illinois cuts off funding for its public universities

A state budget stalemate in Illinois, which has dragged on since last July, is offering a masterclass on the destruction political gridlock can cause.

UCampus
Posted on 3/21/2016

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A state budget stalemate in Illinois, which has dragged on since last July, is offering a masterclass on the destruction political gridlock can cause.

At risk are the state's 57 public universities and community colleges, which were once a model for access and diversity.

In the mid- to late-1990s, Illinois was the top performing state in helping its residents attain higher education through need-based grants and affordable tuitions, according to a report by the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research on Higher Education. The report said such efforts helped minority communities.

Today, minority students are akin to collateral damage in a battle between the state's Republican governor and Democrat-controlled legislature.

The two sides can't agree on a state budget, so the government has been limping along since last summer using accounting maneuvers. While those measures have kept government functioning, the state cannot send funds it has promised to organizations, such as its higher-learning institutions.

Public universities and community colleges haven't gotten any state money for months, even though such funding can make up as much as one-third of an institution's budget. The schools have been relying on cash reserves, and, for larger institutions, on money from their endowments or private donors.

But smaller schools are feeling the financial pressure.

 

Read the entire story here.

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