Sunday, July 17, 2016

Struggling to Cope in Illinois - Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed

For more than a year, Illinois’s community colleges and public universities have been struggling to operate financially as legislators in the state have remained deadlocked over a state budget. “It’s difficult because, with a stop-gap budget people breathed a sigh of relief and people think we got funded,” said Terri Winfree, president of Prairie State College, in Chicago Heights. “It’s important for the world to know that we operate as lean as possible and we want to serve our students … when headlines say a stop-gap budget was passed and they put this high number out there … of that high number, the large majority of that is going to universities and not community colleges.” The state’s universities often partner with its community colleges. But the two-year institutions serve students with the most need, said Winfree, yet receive the least amount of funding. Even before the latest money crunch, Illinois community colleges on average received just 5 percent of their total funding from the state.

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