Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger issued the following statement Friday following General Assembly passage of legislation to partially fund state universities and community colleges and avoid further cuts and potential closings.
SB2059 also includes funding for Monetary Award Program grants for college students. Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the legislation.
“It is heartening that the governor and legislative leaders have come together to authorize funding for our universities, community colleges and student MAP grants,” Munger said. “I have directed my staff to begin processing payments immediately, giving top priority to students and the institutions that are suffering the most.
“The $600 million in funding for this legislation comes from the state’s Education Assistance Fund, which today has $354 million on hand. Those dollars will allow us to immediately pay student MAP grants and work closely with our universities and community colleges to ensure they have the resources they need to avoid further cuts and closings. We will continue disbursing funds as they become available, with final payments being made in July. Our students and schools have paid a heavy price for this budget impasse, and we will do everything possible to provide long-overdue relief.
“It is my deep hope that the spirit of cooperation we saw today will continue and lead to the comprehensive balanced budget that our state so badly needs.”
The Governor’s Office also issued a statement on the legislation.
“By passing this bipartisan agreement, lawmakers in both chambers put aside political differences to provide emergency assistance for higher education, ensuring universities and community colleges remain open and low-income students can pay for school,” Press Secretary Catherine Kelly said. “We are hopeful the General Assembly will build on this bipartisan momentum in the weeks ahead as we negotiate a balanced budget with reform for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.”