Provisional budget runs out with no replacement in sight
The state of Illinois faced a daunting, and sadly familiar, prospect as 2017 began—a completely defunded higher education system.
When 2016 ended, so too did the second “stopgap” budget for higher education that passed the General Assembly on the final day of Fiscal Year 2016 (June 30, 2016). Even with stopgaps, state universities received a 70% cut in FY 2016 and a 50% cut in FY 2017. Each month that goes by digs the budget hole deeper.
State universities cannot sustain a third year of budget inaction and massive cuts. A full budget is crucial not only to maintaining our state universities’ standards of excellence, but to building on 150 years of success.
Illinois’ public colleges and universities employ 175,000 full-time employees, and contribute more than $50 billion in state and local economic activity annually. They build the state’s workforce by educating over 800,000 students each year, and awarding more than 195,000 certificates and degrees annually. Over 70% of those graduates remain in communities throughout Illinois, driving the state forward.
Chronic uncertainty surrounding our state appropriations is eroding Illinois public universities’ ability to recruit and retain elite faculty, encourage the best and brightest students to come to attend, and provide the ideal learning environment for students currently enrolled. It threatens crucial research grants requiring matching state funds. Most importantly, it has left hundreds of Illinoisans out of work and thousands more feeling insecure about their future.
Write your legislators today. Tell them that their constituents are watching, and expect better in 2017.
Illinois Connection is the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy network. To learn more about how you can voice your support for the U of I as an Illinois Connection advocate, visit our advocacy page.