Illinois is so overextended financially, it was only a matter of time before this happened.

The Bellville News-Democrat reports:

Lawmakers, university officials warn of higher ed cuts without new revenue

Democrats in the Illinois House, along with officials from each of the state’s public universities, warned that unless the state finds new sources of revenue, there likely will have to be funding cuts to higher education in the upcoming budget year.

“For years, our universities have been unfairly treated as their state has decreased funding to the universities,” Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat and chairman of the House higher education budget committee, said Wednesday during a Statehouse news conference. “Last year’s funding level is not adequate enough, and as we go through the budget, we learn that the revenue to meet (the fiscal year 2019) level is not there.”

Ford said state funding for higher education peaked in 2002 around $2.4 billion. For the current budget year, the state is expected to spend only about $1.8 billion, roughly 25 percent less than it spent 17 years ago.

Ford was joined in the news conference by officials from each of the state’s public universities, as well as other members of the higher education budget committee.

President Elaine Maimon of Governors State University, which serves a large population of first-generation students, students of color, and military veterans, said colleges and universities were hit especially hard during the two-year budget impasse of 2015 to 2017 because the state was not under any legal or court-mandated obligation to fund higher education.

As a result, she said, during the 2015-2016 budget year, colleges and universities received no appropriations until April 2016, and even then received only about 30 percent of their normal funding. She said that resulted in significant cuts in university programs and services.


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