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Business and Labor Leaders Join Student Call For Resolution of Budget Stalemate

Ralph Weisheit

Illinois colleges and universities have gone seven months with zero state funding – that includes funding of MAP grants that help poor students pay tuition. Wednesday, some business and labor leaders joined students calling for lawmakers to resolve the budget stalemate.

Mitch Dickey is student body president at the University of Illinois' Urbana campus. Dickey's a senior from Bourbonnaise, and he brought to the statehouse a variety of stakeholders -- business owners, labor leaders, and of course students -- to explain how having MAP grants yanked out from under students is affecting them all. After a solid hour of poignant stories and questions from the media, Dickey admitted there's only one thing he knows for sure.

"You know, i don't know that any of us can really  say what kind of impact this is definitely going to have. I think you're still going to have your Illinois students coming in. But I know, for a fact, that you're going to see a lot of students that are going to be looking really out of state, that really do know what's happening in the state of Illinois and just want to leave."

What no one on the panel mentioned is that Illinois already ranks second highest in the nation for net out-migration of high school graduates to colleges in other states. And that was before lawmakers cut off all higher education funding.