To ensure funding for higher education and students who receive a Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) filed legislation (Senate Bill 3423) April 19 that would appropriate critical dollars, based on the current need, for four-year universities and community colleges. The legislation would also fund MAP grants at 100 percent.
One key difference from previous legislation, Righter’s legislation would finance higher education through the Education Assistance Fund. Righter says that fund has now built up enough money over the past several months to direct enough dollars to universities that are at a breaking point. MAP grant funding would come from the General Revenue Fund.
“Eastern Illinois University has already laid off hundreds of workers,” Righter said. “Chicago State University is about to close its doors in the coming weeks. Other universities and community colleges are facing other hardships. Students currently enrolled, or those looking to enroll in Illinois universities and community colleges, are losing confidence fast. It cannot be stressed enough, we must get critical dollars to these institutions and students right now.”
Righter’s legislation would appropriate $400 million to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for public universities based on need, $100 million to the Illinois Community College Board, which would be distributed through the base operating grant formula, and $365 million for the MAP Grant program, which would be funded at 100 percent.
“Much of the credit to this goes to several people at Eastern Illinois University who discussed with me the Education Assistance Fund, and how it could be used to help institutions in dire need,” Righter said. “I am hopeful we can pass this legislation right away so we can help EIU immediately.”
During the budget impasse, Sen. Righter has sponsored or co-sponsored several pieces of legislation that would direct critical funding to universities, community colleges, and MAP grant recipients.
“Senate Bill 3423 ensures our schools stay open, employees can return to work, and students don’t have to worry about the future of their education,” Righter said. “I speak with university leaders, workers, and students at EIU on a regular basis about the difficulty this budget impasse is causing them and how the negative publicity is impacting the school’s reputation. Let’s get this done now.”