May 8, 2006
Higher Ed Leaders Applaud State Budget
SPRINGFIELD – The state budget approved last week by the General Assembly addresses critical needs for the state’s college and university students, according to James L. Kaplan, Chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).
“We in the higher education community commend Governor Blagojevich and the General Assembly for approving the fiscal 2007 budget that increases spending in areas of great need,” Kaplan said. “The budget includes a new student grant program, provides significant increases in need-based student financial aid, allows pay raises to make faculty and staff salaries more competitive, reinstitutes a grant program for disadvantaged students at community colleges, and creates new scholarship and grant programs to address the state’s chronic nursing shortage.
“In all, this is a very sound budget that addresses the areas of affordability, quality, and student access and success,” Kaplan said.
Judy Erwin, IBHE Executive Director, concurred. “This budget targets dollars to the most pressing higher education needs of students, faculty, and citizens of the state,” Erwin said. “The increases approved for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and the new MAP-Plus program will help students keep pace with the rising cost of college and assist in reducing reliance on loans.”
The $2.15 billion general funds budget for higher education increases spending by $47.8 million, or 2.3 percent, over fiscal 2006 appropriations, when excluding spending for pensions.
The budget includes:
“This budget exceeds the recommendations adopted by the Board of Higher Education,” Kaplan noted, “and we are grateful to the Governor and legislators for their support so Illinois students can pursue higher education.”