Another bill set to fund higher education, MAP grants

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Another bill, seeking to fund higher education and social services, was debated in the House Thursday as legislators attempt to agree on funding before their session comes to an end Friday.

Emerging in the midst of several other higher education inspired bills, Senate Bill 2059, which will give Eastern $40 million, promises to fund not only universities, but community colleges, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and the Monetary Award Program grants.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, plans to derive the appropriations from the Illinois Education Assistance Fund, which is used to fund higher education and K-12 education.

At the end of the fiscal year, the EAF is expected to have a surplus of $600 million.

Along with SB 2059 are two other bills offering similar funding methods.

House Bill 5045, sponsored by Rep. Rita Mayfield, and HB 2344, sponsored by Rep. Mike Fortner also aim to provide emergency funding for universities.

HB 5045 will fully fund Eastern, Chicago State University, Western, Northeastern and Southern Illinois University unlike HB 2344, which provides a stopgap plan to fund all nine universities at 33 percent and MAP grants at 50 percent.

However, SB 2059 exceeds past both Mayfield’s and Fortner’s proposed plans and funds community colleges as well.

“The purpose of this bill is simply to provide emergency funding to get our universities through the summer with the hope that we will continue to work on a budget so that we can fully fund them,” Mayfield, who is also a co-sponsor for SB 2059 said in defense of the bill during session.

SB 2059 will be discussed in the House again Friday.

But, there is another bill (SB 2046) currently sitting on Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk that funds higher education and social services as well.

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]