Springfield, IL… Nearly a thousand college students who descended upon the capital today to advocate for higher education funding heard some promising news from legislators. Representative Bob Pritchard (R-Sycamore) told the group that several bills are being negotiated for a stop-gap funding measure this week. Higher Education funding, including Monetary Assistance for low-income students, has been denied for over 10 months. Demonstrators lobbied legislators to shine a light on the damage the lack of a budget is having on education in Illinois.
Pritchard, whose district includes Northern Illinois University and four community colleges, told the students “A bipartisan group of legislators is currently working on elements for a compromise budget, but more time is needed. Unfortunately, many families and students planning to attend higher education institutions this fall can’t wait.”
The legislator said a stop-gap budget is being drafted that will help assure students and families that colleges and universities can remain open, faculty will be available and the door to success for them will not close. “The plan is for legislation that will combine several bills to provide real short-term funding for all universities, community colleges and Monetary Award grants.”
“Representative Fortner has proposed a method which I fully support to use over $500 million in Education Assistance Funds to make real dollars available for stop-gap funding,” Pritchard added. “Previous legislation was not tied to real dollars and was just IOU’s. Let me assure you that I am continuing to work for a full budget for the higher education and human services not currently being funded,” Pritchard continued.
“In all of this we have lost focus on the future in Illinois: of preparing citizens for productive careers that pay a living wage. Of creating inventions that will propel our economy. Of individuals who want to climb out of poverty and hopelessness to a better life. And for having a 21st century skilled workforce that attracts companies and jobs to Illinois,” Pritchard concluded.