Illinois State University President Larry Dietz is welcoming passage of a new state budget that will increase higher education funding after years of cuts and uncertainty.
The new budget includes $66.3 million for ISU, an increase of 2 percent (or $1.3 million), Dietz said in an email to ISU staff Friday. The spending plan also includes nearly $66 million in capital funding, Dietz said, with almost $62 million targeted for ISU’s Fine Arts Complex construction and renovation project.
“When those funds will be released is not known at this time,” Dietz wrote.
The budget package, approved Thursday, now goes to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. He said he’ll sign it.
Dietz said he appreciated the “source of predictable public support,” even if the budget represents the “smallest state appropriate (excluding budget impasse years) in two decades.”
“As I have said on many occasions since becoming president, I have never traveled to Springfield with my hands out asking for greater and greater amounts of state revenue,” Dietz said. “I have respectfully asked for fairness and predictability, and I am appreciative we will enter the new fiscal year financially strong and stable.”
The new state budget also creates a $25 million scholarship fund to be matched by public universities and community colleges, officials said. The goal of this new tuition assistance program is to keep students in Illinois attending Illinois schools.
The budget deal does not include shifting millions in state pension costs to universities and colleges. That idea was proposed again earlier this year.
Lawmakers also passed a measure (HB 5020) that will expand Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant awards to colleges from yearly to four years.
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