State lawmakers approve funding to keep universities afloat through summer

A stopgap funding measure for higher education passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly on Friday, April 22.

The bill, SB 2059, advanced by a final vote of 106-2 in the House and 55-0 in the Senate. The package totals about $600 million and contains badly needed support for Illinois’s public universities, community colleges, and MAP grant funds. It is expected that this funding, which still awaits Governor Rauner’s signature, will help Illinois’s at-risk institutions avoid cataclysmic consequences as a result of the ongoing budget impasse, up to and including the total shutdown of Chicago State University and mass layoffs at a variety of other institutions.

After its passage, lawmakers from both parties insisted that the bill represents a temporary solution to the damage wrought by the ongoing budget impasse, and that the work of fully funding Illinois’s colleges and universities remains incomplete. It does, however, represent an important bipartisan step towards consensus on funding the state’s public higher education system.

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To read University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen’s official statement on the funding agreement, click here.