Illinois universities brace for more state budget cuts

(AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner once again is calling for deep cuts in state funding for higher education, showing how tempting a target universities continue to be for a state desperate to get its budget under control. In a letter to Rauner earlier this month, President Timothy Killeen pitched the idea of a multi-year budget for the university and highlighted all the sacrifices the school has already made. Here are questions and answers about the degree to which state money affects nine universities and almost 50 community colleges, and how they wound up at the heart of the budget impasse: At $1.9 billion last fiscal year, the money going to state universities, community colleges and financial aid is among the more prominent spending categories. The money also directly affects tens of thousands of families, as more than half a million people are enrolled in the public universities and community colleges. Schools also have been covering the expense of state grants for lower-income students in the absence of that money, but many community colleges say they can no longer afford the expense. […] Killeen says the situation has made top University of Illinois faculty a prime target for recruitment by out-of-state schools. […] public universities In Illinois and across the country already have significantly raised tuition over the past decade — partly a response to diminished support from state governments. With the cost of four years on campus now topping $100,000 at the University of Illinois campus at Champaign-Urbana, it is reluctant to ask parents and students for more and decided to keep tuition flat next school year, a second straight year without increases.

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