Northeastern Illinois University joined forces with peer institutions across the state to build awareness of the need and value for robust funding in Illinois higher education. The universities rallied together to launch a statewide campaign this week. The campaign includes emails to alumni, social media postings and appearances from university presidents around the state asking the community and legislators for their support of higher education.
“College students all over Illinois, especially at Northeastern, need the resources required to ensure their academic success,” Northeastern President Gloria J. Gibson said. “To provide those resources, state public universities must be adequately funded. We strongly urge Springfield to support higher education, and prioritize funding to state colleges and universities.”
The campaign, called Take Action Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education, focuses on the importance of increased funding for Illinois public universities so these institutions can continue to drive economic growth and development in the state by developing its workforce, which will attract businesses to the state and keep families in Illinois. The nine public universities alone contribute billions to the state’s economy every year. An increase in funding would create jobs and spur more economic activity statewide and provide students with much-needed improvements 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, forcing universities to defer maintenance and realign resources to ensure student success. Since then, the state has seen an out-migration of college students attending universities out 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 Illinois public universities. All universities have submitted a proposal detailing their capital and operational needs for this year’s budget and are requesting a funding increase. The campaign efforts seek to influence the universities request for an increase.