background_fid.jpg
Macomb 91.3fm - Galesburg 90.7fm Keokuk 89.5fm - Burlington 106.3fm
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
The "Crisis of Confidence" series is a multi-year effort by the Tri States Public Radio to document the impact the two-year state budget impasse had on Western Illinois University and the ongoing recovery efforts at WIU. State support for public higher education institutions has been steadily declining in Illinois for more than a decade. But the issue was compounded, during the state's historic two-year budget impasse during Fiscal Years '16 and '17 which left public colleges and universities with little state financial support. At Western Illinois University, that drastic cut in state appropriations resulted in significant budget cuts, employee furloughs, and layoffs.

Stop Gap Funding For Higher Ed Approved

currie_huddle_0.jpg
Sarah Mueller
/

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse.  

The Senate unanimously approved the deal Friday after House members voted for it 106-2.  

Under the deal, Western lllinois University would get almost $15 million dollars. That is only 31% of what it received from the state last year.  WIU would also get some of the MAP grant money that the school covered for students during the current year.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill. He issued a statement through his spokeswoman that praised lawmakers in the Democrat-led chambers for putting ``aside political differences'' to provide emergency assistance for colleges and universities.  

Rauner and legislative Democrats have been deadlocked on a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, which has led some state universities to institute layoffs and cutbacks. Chicago State University is on the verge of closing.  

Money for the education fix is possible because of a surplus in the state's Education Assistance Fund. The funding proposal also has nearly $170 million in tuition grants for low-income students.  

Jonathan Ahl joined Iowa Public Radio as News Director in July 2008. He leads the news and talk show teams in field reporting, feature reporting, audio documentaries, and talk show content. With more than 17 years in public media, Jonathan is a nationally award-winning reporter that has worked at public radio stations in Macomb, Springfield and Peoria, IL. He served WCBU-FM in Peoria as news director before coming to Iowa. He also served as a part-time instructor at Bradley University teaching journalism and writing courses. Jonathan is currently serving a second term as president of PRNDI ââ