IBHE Requests Level Funding

Feb 3, 2014

Harry Berman
Credit uis.edu

The Illinois Board of Higher Education will recommend at its meeting tomorrow that Governor Quinn at least keep state funding for colleges and universities level for the coming fiscal year.

The board is putting out a number of funding options for the governor's office to consider. The first one, and the one likely to be the most realistic, calls for the same funding amount as the current year. However Harry Berman, the board's Executive Director, says, "An increase in funding for higher education is justified, would be warranted, and in the long run would be beneficial."

Berman says even with pension reform, the future of Illinois' economy is shaky and uncertain. In this fiscal year, the state's portion of higher education funding went up only about half a percent. At the same time, overall college enrollment numbers in Illinois are on a downward trend, making it harder to count on tuition as a way to close the financial gap.

The Board will also lay out a range of options that would show how funding increases could be used. But with the state's tight finances, additional money is unlikely. Berman says maintaining MAP grant funding to help needy students afford college will also be recommended. The Governor called for expanding the scholarships in his State of the State Address last week.