Chicago State University (CSU) joined forces with peer universities across the state to build awareness of the need and value for robust funding for higher education in Illinois. The universities rallied together to launch a statewide campaign on Thursday, May 23. The campaign included a video message from university students, emails to alumni and appearances from university presidents around the state asking the community and legislators for their support of higher education.
“Adequate funding for Illinois’ public higher education is vital to closing the wealth gap that exists in many Illinois minority communities,” said Zaldwaynaka Scott, Esq., president of Chicago State University. “Illinois residents deserve a strong and equitable public higher education system. We are asking the community to join us, take action and contact their legislators; ask them to invest in higher education.”
The campaign, called The Time Is Now: Re-Invest in Illinois Higher Education, focuses on the importance of increased funding for Illinois’ public universities so that these institutions can continue to drive economic growth and development into the state. The thought is that the higher education institutions develop the state’s workforce, which attracts businesses and keeps families in Illinois.
CSU alone contributes more than half a billion dollars to the state’s economy every year. An increase in funding would create jobs, spur more economic activity statewide, and provide students with much–needed improvements as it pertains to campus buildings, classrooms and new technology on campuses.
During the FY16-FY18 Illinois budget crisis, funding for higher education throughout the state of Illinois was significantly reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars. This forced universities to defer maintenance needs and realign resources to ensure student success. Since then, the state has seen an outmigration of students attending universities outside of Illinois due to the uncertainty of state support.
The Illinois General Assembly is set to conclude its work on May 31, 2019, and is discussing appropriated and capital funding for its public universities. All universities have submitted proposals detailing their capital and operational needs for this year’s budget and are requesting a funding increase.