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Hammond Concerned About Higher Education Funding

T.J. Carson
State Representatives Norine Hammond (left, foreground) and Don Moffitt (right, foreground) attend a legislative luncheon held by the Carl Sandburg College Board of Trustees.

K-12 schools in Illinois have received financial support from the state; their funding was the only part of the budget signed this year by Governor Bruce Rauner.  That leaves a western Illinois lawmaker worried about funding for students who choose to continue their education after high school.

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) talked with the Carl Sandburg College Board of Trustees about funding concerns for Illinois'  public colleges and universities. She feels the funding has become an afterthought during the budget stalemate in Springfield.

“We’re talking about the very future of Illinois. These are our students. And we’re not funding their general state aid, and we’re not funding the MAP grants. So it’s a double whammy,” Hammond said.

Carl Sandburg College President Lori Sundburg said 618 CSC students qualify for MAP grants.  Hammond said if students are unable to use those grants and other state aid to attend school, they might have to consider other options that are not favorable for Illinois.

“Those students are going to do one of two things. They’re going to drop out of school, or they’re going to go to another state for school,” Hammond said.

Hammond said she would like to see the issue resolved before spring semesters begin, but she said she has yet to see a clean bill come forward to fund just the MAP grants. Hammond said the governor and the four legislative leaders must come together to work out a plan for the program.