Hays Applauds Bipartisan Stopgap Bill that Provides Emergency Funding to Colleges and Universities

A stopgap measure that allows Illinois’ universities and community colleges to remain open during the budget impasse was approved by the Illinois House Friday morning. The legislation also provides funding for one semester of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

Through an amendment to SB 2059, $600 million in existing Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) money will be utilized to provide short-term funding for schools that face an uncertain future due to the General Assembly’s inability to pass a budget. Representative Chad Hays (R-Catlin), who represents students and employees from the University of Illinois, Danville Community College and Parkland Community College, said the emergency funding measure will fund operations through the start of September, when next year’s tuition payments arrive. “While the obvious best solution would be a balanced budget that included adequate funding for higher education, this amendment to SB 2059 will provide a critical lifeline to our community colleges and universities,” said Hays. “It represents the kind of creative solutions that can be reached through bipartisanship while a full budget solution is reached.

While each public four-year institution will receive an allocation that will see them through the end of August, the Illinois Community College Board will receive a lump sum of $74,142,300 to disperse to struggling community colleges across the state. “I am pleased to see funding for community colleges included in this stopgap measure,” Hays said, “because these two-year colleges provide vital educational services to a great number of Illinois citizens.”

The Illinois Senate indicated it would consider the bill right away and Governor Rauner said he will sign it if it reaches his desk. The official House vote on the amended bill was 106-2.