Illinois Senate Approves More Money for Higher Education

State universities and community colleges would get a boost under a measure approved Thursday by the Illinois Senate.

After waiting for the better part of a year for any cash from the state, higher education institutions are finally on the way to receiving some money, thanks to bipartisan deal reached late last month.

But now more could be on the way.  Senators from both parties voted for a plan to get all public universities and colleges to 60-percent funding.

Senator Dave Luechtefeld, a Republican from Okawville, says Southern Illinois University is in his district.

"And I guess I've seen the devastation that really is going to be hard to makeup. You just don't get those teachers back, and you don't get those students back."

Senator Gary Forby, a Democrat from Benton, says he hopes to eventually get them to 100-percent funding.
 
"We're not gonna give up. This group here, a bipartisan one, we understand that education is the number one issue in the state of Illinois. So we're not going to give up on this. So we got the 60 percent. We're going after the 40 down the road."
 
While Governor Bruce Rauner appears to be supportive of this proposal ... his budget had recommended steep cuts for universities.

And supporters caution it's not yet a done deal.  Senators from both parties appeared worried that House members would not follow their lead.

Democrats who control the Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner have been unable to agree on a budget since July 1, and some higher education institutions have been forced to lay off staff.