Universities across Illinois, including Chicago State University, launched a statewide campaign Thursday to raise awareness of the need and value for robust funding in higher education in the state.
The campaign, called “The Time is Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education” includes a video message from university students, emails to alumni, a video message from university students and appearances from university presidents around the state asking legislators and communities to support higher education.
The campaign focuses on increased funding for Illinois public universities as necessary for them to continue to drive economic growth and development in the state by developing its workforce, which contributes to attracting businesses to the state and keeping families in Illinois.
Chicago State University contributes more than $500 million to the state’s economy every year. More funding, advocates say, would create jobs, spur more economic activity statewide and provide much-needed improvements to campus buildings, classrooms and new technology.
“Adequate funding for Illinois public higher education is vital to closing the wealth gap that exists in many Illinois minority communities”, said Chicago State president Dr. Zaldwaynaka Scott. “Illinois residents deserve a strong and equitable public higher education system. We are asking the community to join us, take action and contact their legislators; ask them to invest in higher education”.
Funding for higher education across the state was significantly cut by hundreds of millions during a financial crisis that extended from fiscal years 2016 through 2018, forcing universities to defer maintenance and realign resources.
Since then, there has been a migration of students attending universities out of state.
The state legislature is discussing appropriated and capital funding for public universities, all of which have submitted detailed proposals about their capital and operational needs for this year’s budget and are requesting a funding increase.