Several weeks ago Chicago State University administration canceled spring break to graduate their seniors early and sent layoff notices to staff. Students and staff at Chicago State University now have a glimmer of hope.
Last week, the Legislative Black Caucus took the lead in advancing a bipartisan solution to fund MAP grants, save Chicago State University and restore social service program funding.
Senate Bill 2059 was signed into law today by the governor. Although there is still plenty of work to do toward passing a budget, this is a step in the right direction and brings much-needed relief to students, seniors and those most vulnerable.
There are still a number of measures the governor should recognize as core items to move our state forward—producing a budget is number one.
Black caucus members had the following statements about the signing of Senate Bill 2059:
Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)
“This is a small victory for our higher education system, but it means so much to the students throughout our state who were in jeopardy of losing their futures. We will continue the fight for the programs and services that our most vulnerable populations desperately need, and I’m ready to keep pushing forward.”
Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville)
“I commend my colleagues, in both chambers, for coming together to fund MAP and social service programs. We are headed in the right direction. It is our job as legislators to ensure no one goes without crucial services. Everyone deserves an opportunity to become a productive member of our state.”
Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)
“This emergency funding plan is the first step toward stabilizing our public universities. I am glad the governor is working with us but there’s more to be done. College students shouldn’t wait for piecemeal solutions. We should keep our economic engine strong by restoring the people’s trust in our education system and our state.”
Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)
“Access to higher education is the key to propelling our state forward. The best way to uplift our youth and give them the opportunities we had is by protecting their scholarships and keep colleges open.”
Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey)
“It’s a relief to send our universities some of the funding they need in a bipartisan effort, showing that we can work together through tough issues to help stabilize education and the economy in Illinois. This is a step in the right direction, and more importantly, a step closer to implementing a full budget. We can now work on funding social services, which in many communities are just as important as accessibility to higher education.”
Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)
“Students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education without having to worry about if their institution will be around when it’s time to graduate. This is a key step for our state. Students are one of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Our works is not done—let’s now pass a budget that fully funds MAP, higher education and summer youth programs.”
Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)
“Last week’s compromise funding plan will keep the doors open at Illinois’ colleges and universities. It will allow students to receive their vital MAP grant funding. It will instill trust in the graduating high school student who wants to attend Governors’ State or Chicago State but was concerned about the lack of state funding.
“While our budget impasse is by no means over, a big step has been taken. We must continue our work, building off this moment of success and ensure our social service agencies receive the same kind of attention as our students.”