Extending a lifeline to Western Illinois University, Blackhawk College, Augustana College and college students who depend on MAP grants is the focus of legislation co-sponsored this week by State Senator Neil Anderson (Rock Island).
“Local students, and schools like Western and Blackhawk and Augustana have suffered unfairly during this ongoing budget impasse,” said Anderson. “What we have here is a thoughtful solution to provide the funding they need to continue to provide high quality education to local students.”
The proposal would provide nearly $1.7 billion to the state’s higher education system by tying higher education funding to procurement reform, a move that is estimated to save taxpayers approximately $500 million ever year. Procurement reform, which colleges and universities have been demanding for years, will enable them to cut costs and better manage finances.
The proposal would:
- Fund four-year colleges and universities at 80% of 2015 funding levels;
- Fund two-year community colleges at 90% of 2015 funding levels;
- Fund MAP grants at 100% of 2015 funding levels.
Procurement reform also provides direct financial relief to the universities and community colleges. Importantly, the financial benefit from procurement reform will transcend any single fiscal year and benefit students and their parents for years to come – long after this budget crisis is resolved.
Earlier in the week Anderson voted present on a measure that, he says amounted to little more than an empty promise.
“This week democrats passed legislation that only promises funding to MAP grants and community colleges, leaving four-year public universities like Western Illinois University in the lurch. I say ‘promised’ instead of ‘funded’ because that’s all the legislation was, a promise - and an empty one at that because it lacked the funding stream to actually deliver,” said Anderson. “Our proposal is a real solution that ensures that the funding is there for Illinois’ public universities, community colleges and the students who need MAP grants to get an education.”