University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen was happy when he heard Governor Pritzker’s budget proposal.
“It’s a great step forward. I really appreciate the governor’s set of priorities,” Killeen said.
During his budget address, Pritzker pitched a seven percent increase to university budgets and a 100 million dollar increase to the MAP Grant Program.
Seven percent is great, according to Killeen, but they still want more.
“Is this enough? You know, we’re asking for more,” he said. “Our budget request is for 10%. Seven percent is a very strong number. It’s a strong commitment. And we’re delighted to see that and very supportive of Governor Pritzker has value-laden budget.”
Killeen said he also wants more stability going forward. Instead of waiting year to year to find out what the University system will get from the state, Killeen wants a multi-year funding plan, with a set increase every year.
“We’re going to advocate for a few years, multiple years of sustained predictable growth, to get back to where we need to be as a state,” Killeen said.
Killeen was very happy with the MAP Grant increase proposal, as were the three chancellors from the different university branches. The financial aid program is crucial for helping in-state students afford tuition at state schools. University is scheduled to raise tuition for the coming school year by 1.8 percent.
“The map funding is wonderful for providing that quality education to as many students as we possibly can,” UIS Chancellor Janet Gooch said.
University of Illinois administrators were joined by hundreds of students at the Capitol Wednesday for their annual advocacy day.
Students were supporting the MAP Grant increase more than anyone.
“I just wouldn’t have the opportunities without the MAP Grant that I do now. And I wouldn’t be in college,” Juana Cordova, a senior at UIC majoring in Political Science said.
Pritzker says with this additional investment, students will be able to get free tuition at community colleges between MAP grants and federal Pell grants.
“I feel like having the MAP grant has really allowed me to, you know, worry less about, oh, how am I gonna pay this off in the future?” Mckayla Bartkiewicz, a junior political science major at UIS said.
Pritzker’s proposals for higher education funding are part of a larger increase in education funding across the board. The proposals come in a year where many were calling for a more frugal approach to the budget.
The University of Illinois will be far from the last organization to ask for more money out of the coming budget. UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones says even though there’s more negotiating to be done, the initial proposal shows a bigger commitment than the University is used to for higher education.
“Now to be starting off with the top about 7% is really gratifying because it’s gratifying to be part of a state where the leadership understands the fundamental value of investing in higher education, and investing in his flagship research university,” Jones said.