NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited Illinois State University Tuesday morning and discussed his proposed budget for higher education in the next fiscal year.
In the governor’s proposed budget, he sets aside $2.2 billion alone in funds for higher education. That increase includes a 5% increase in funds for public universities and colleges, like ISU.
Governor Pritzker said that’s $208 million more than last year’s budget.
“The stronger our colleges and universities are, the greater our prospects for economic growth and for jobs,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker laid out his three goals when it comes to higher education Tuesday. All revolved around making college more affordable in the state.
He told reporters his three goals for higher education affordability were increasing Monetary Award Program (MAP) money by 50%, making Illinois a top 5 state in federal student aid and increasing the state’s support for higher education as a whole. Pritzker said his proposed budget accomplishes all three goals.
“Our scholarships are up, our student assistance is up, our institutional support is up and that means the cost of college education in Illinois is finally coming down,” Pritzker said.
In the governor’s budget, $122 million will fund the MAP. MAP is a program that provides grants for higher education to students needing financial help.
“Without this, I would not be attending this school, nor would I have the opportunities that I have,” said ISU senior, Ximena Sanchez-Ramirez said.
With the governor’s increase, ISU can advance diversity and inclusion on its campus according to president Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy.
“This would allow us to think about more ways that we can make these sorts of opportunities for community available on campus, including faculty and staff because a very important part of the equation; we want our students to be on a campus where they see the diversity that we see across our state,” Goss-Kinzy said.
Other programs receiving funding in Pritzker’s budget proposal include minority teacher scholarships and the diversity in higher education faculty program.