Western Illinois University

EIU.EDU

Higher education in Illinois has been caught in a continuing battle over the budget. 

University of Illinois Public Affairs

The vitriol and finger-pointing over the gridlock in state government has amplified. University leaders are trying to keep their distance, even as they fight for funding.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Days after vetoing a measure to help low-income college students, Gov. Bruce Rauner signaled he's open to another way of making it happen.

Rauner's reason for rejecting the Democrats' funding plan was that it would have sent Illinois deeper into debt.

But Rauner -- a Republican -- has said he'd be OK with an alternate GOP approach -- because it's paired with money to back it up. The governor's doubling down on that notion.

WIU students demonstrating.
Rich Egger / Tri States Public Radio

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees voted 5-to1 during a special meeting Monday to authorize staff reductions for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.  Staff cuts are just one part of Western’s plan for cutting spending by roughly $10 million due to declines in enrollment and state financial support.

University of Illinois Public Affairs

Illinois' elementary and high schools are operating as normal; funding for education was the only spending spared from Governor Bruce Rauner's veto pen. But universities are another story. They haven't gotten a dollar from the state since July.

Collectively, Illinois' public universities educate some 200,000 students a year. Now, the campuses are "on the brink of serious operational damage."

David Wilson / davidwilson1949 via Flickr.com

Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed 40 percent cut in Amtrak funding drew objections from 16 university and municipal officials on Tuesday morning. 

 Schools as small as Spoon River College and as large as the University of Illinois flagship in Urbana-Champaign rely on Amtrak trains to bring their students to campus. They say the cut would reduce services and negatively affect enrollment at all downstate schools.  

University of Illinois, Springfield

  Enrollment is down at many of Illinois' public universities. As Hannah Meisel reports, the lost tuition is hurting schools' bottom line.

As the state has cut funding to higher education, universities have made up for the losses by raising tuition. But when there are fewer students to pay, colleges feel the squeeze all over again.