Free Community College for Children of Families Earning Less than $45,000 in Pritzker’s Budget

From the Pritzker Administration:


SPRINGFIELD—Higher education funding for public universities and community colleges in Illinois would gain a $109.7 million increase according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2021.

This includes dedicated financial support through the state’s need-based Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant program to make community college tuition-free for eligible students whose families make less than $45,000 per year.

The three higher education boards say students will benefit from the governor’s proposed investment through greater access, equity, and attainment.

“This is outstanding news for students across the state as well as our colleges and universities that serve them,” said Ginger Ostro, executive director, IBHE. “This second year of increased investment signals that we have a champion who understands how important higher education is to students, families, employers, and the state as a whole.”

In addition, the governor’s proposal to bring each of Illinois’ public universities into the national Common Application would allow students to fill out one application for 12 universities, eliminating one barrier to access.

The overall higher education budget proposal totals $2.178 billion, which would reflect a 5.4 percent increase over the current year’s budget.

Increases would include:

• $55.6 million (5 percent) for public universities
• $14.9 million (5 percent) for community colleges and adult education
• $50 million for MAP
• $1 million to convert all Illinois public universities to the national Common Application

“The governor’s commitment to an additional $50 million for MAP can truly change the trajectory for college access in Illinois,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), the state’s college access and financial aid agency. “An appropriation of $501 million for MAP in FY 2021 will, for the first time in decades, allow us to provide a MAP award to nearly all MAP-eligible students. Expanded funding for MAP is critical as Illinois invests in low-income students.”

A MAP set aside for community college students will mean that 15 percent ($75 million) of MAP dollars will be used specifically for that group of learners. “The investment in a MAP set aside for community college students is a commitment to equity, access and attainment for working families in Illinois,” said Brian Durham, executive director of the Illinois Community College Board. “This set aside will allow community college students to make decisions knowing they will have the support of the state.”

The governor’s suggested increase in MAP would make community college tuition-free for all MAP-eligible students with family income under $45,000 who also receive a federal Pell Grant. Overall, increased MAP funding will extend assistance to an additional 20,000 students, which is over and above the 10,000 additional MAP and AIM HIGH students who are being funded in this fiscal year.

His budget also provides funding for statewide implementation of the national Common Application. Streamlining the application process for the state’s public, four-year universities will allow students to use just one form to apply to all. “It’s a way to make the application process simpler for students,” said Ostro.

The Common App provision would make Illinois the first state with all public four-year universities using one application. Currently, students from Illinois were the fifth largest group that used the Common App, but they were using it to apply to out-of-state schools.

Highlights of the proposed budget:

Illinois Student Assistance Commission

• A $50 million increase in MAP funding to $501 million, an historic high for the annual appropriation for a statewide grant program that helps make college possible for low-income students
• Continued funding for the AIM HIGH Grant pilot program, through which public universities offer means-tested, merit-based aid to attract and support Illinois students
• The proposed budget also increases state support for ISAC’s college access and outreach services as federal funding for these programs declines, ensuring that students and families statewide will continue to have access to one-on-one mentoring and assistance with the college-going and financial aid process.

Illinois Community College Board:

• An increase of $14.9 million (5 percent) for the community college operating grants and the adult education system
• $5 million to create a new grant program to expand community college apprenticeship programs
• 15 percent set-aside of MAP grants for community college students, which along with federal assistance will lead to tuition-free community college for students with family incomes under $45,000. [Emphasis added.]

Illinois Board of Higher Education:

• A 5 percent funding bump ($55.6 million) for state universities
• $1 million to expand use of the Common Application to public universities. Currently, only two universities—the University of Illinois Chicago and Chicago State University—use the Common Application.
• A 5 percent increase ($947,000) for the Illinois Math and Science Academy.


Free Community College for Children of Families Earning Less than $45,000 in Pritzker’s Budget — 14 Comments

  1. It must be fun bein’ Santa Claus.

    He’s our hybrid of Comrade Bernie & Bloomberg.

    Why are all these people of a certain religious background running our lives?

    Even here in McHenry Co?

    How did we allow this to happen with such tragic results?

  2. What are the salaries of every single person working at public universities in Illinois? Are there some people making too much? Why can’t those making extremely high amounts either stay at same levels or take haircuts? With that why not decrease the budgets of all public universities and let the leaders there do a better job of controlling and reducing costs?

  3. Why not add in a free non polluting Tesla?

    Come on, let’s spend Illinois into an even deeper oblivion..

  4. You know the country is on the way down when the highest paid state employee in 41 states is a football coach!

  5. MsT, we may not agree on much, but that point 100%.

    High school “athletic directors” at $100k+ and college coaches at a million.

    No wonder we live in an idiocracy.

  6. Earnings threshold of $45,000 presumably does not include
    $20,000 free health insurance premiums paid on behalf, and
    More than 100% of salary over 10 years to create annuity value sufficient to pay 92% of pension-spiked salary over 30 year retirement with 3% cola.

    Illinois creates tremendous incentives to get into public sector positions. In doing so,
    Illinois creates tremendous disincentive to own a home or business forced to pay for perquisites worth more than the public sector salaries themselves.

  7. Everyone should get a haircut Bred!!!

    Hair is ruining Illinois!!!

  8. Those highly paid football coaches generate millions of dollars for their respective universities.

    A cost benefit analysis would prove they are effective or the universities would not pay them as such.

    High school ADs on the other hand i would agree with.

  9. The problem with high Illinois universities salaries is that taxpayers are obligated guarantors of public pension entitlements pegged to the (spiked) salary amounts.

    Pension fund Contributions are red herrings.

    If the stock market crashes as it did 12 years ago, the entitlements are guaranteed by taxpayers.

    One could argue that medical sector professionals generate millions of dollars of earnings value by prolonging working individuals taxpaying lifespans.

    If Illinois can afford a publicly guaranteed defined benefits plan for teachers, why not replicate that for all medical personnel?





  11. More handouts for illegal alien ‘Dreamer-brats’

    They dream about dispossessing us.

    They displace us physically.

    They are net ‘takers’

    What about that do you not understand.

    Yes, there are decent Lauf types, but for every one of them are five criminals, welfare queens, MI-15 gangbangers, medicaid moochers, foodstamp entrepreneurs, DUI cases, etc.

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