Higher Ed. Rally in Springfield on Wednesday While Lawmakers Consider Higher Ed. Funding

Apr 19, 2016

A group of students and faculty from SIU-Carbondale and John A. Logan College is headed to Springfield Wednesday for a higher education rally.

They will join faculty and students from all over the state to protest the lack of a state budget.

Brandon Woudenberg is president of the SIU-C Graduate and Professional Students Council, which represents graduate students as well as students in the medical and law schools.

"What's being planned is having a rally around 12-12:30 outside the capitol and then after the rally going inside and actually meeting with senators and state legislators about higher education and why we don't have a budget yet."

Higher education has gone without any state funding since the start of the fiscal year last summer.

Meanwhile, efforts are underway that could bring at least some funding to higher education.

State Representative Mike Fortner, a Republican from West Chicago, has introduced a stop-gap measure intended to keep the facilities open through August.​ It would use more than $550 million dollars from a dedicated education fund to pay for university operating expenses plus cover low-income student tuition grants. Fortner points out Chicago State University is set to close its doors May 1st and some other four-year colleges say they're unsure if they can last until fall.  "We want to see all of higher education funded, but right now, this stop-gap would provide the critical piece to bridge us across.  

Community colleges are NOT part of the legislation.   While there is some bipartisan support for the plan, House Democrats are also moving a measure to provide money to only five schools (Southern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Northeastern University and Chicago State University)  considered to be the most at risk of shutting down.