House Republicans block students from college assistance

by Beth Camplain | Mar 02, 2016
"They voted to leave colleges out of money, educators out of work, and low-income students out of luck.” said IFT President Dan Montgomery.

Today, in an effort to keep students’ dreams alive and our community colleges open, the Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 2043, a bill which would provide funding for community colleges and Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for low-income students. Unfortunately, hours later, House Republicans voted down the override, choosing the Governor’s political agenda over Illinois students and colleges, who are left again with uncertainty.

“We applaud the leadership shown by Senators who voted to reverse the Governor’s irresponsible veto and provide a lifeline to low-income students and community colleges,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery, a high school English teacher. “The Governor blames others for his own failure to lead, but it was Governor Rauner who vetoed this bill. It was Governor Rauner who claimed education was his priority yet proposed a 25% across-the-board cut to our colleges and universities. It is Governor Rauner who is starving our schools and social services to the brink of collapse before he would ask the very wealthy to pay a dime more. And now, House Republicans have chosen to support Rauner’s wrong priorities over the college students and families they represent. They could have reversed his decision but instead voted to leave colleges out of money, educators out of work, and low-income students out of luck.”

Had House Republicans supported the bill, more than 100,000 students would continue receiving much-needed financial assistance for tuition. The lack of MAP funding does not only impact students, but also the schools that serve them. Schools rely on MAP grants as a revenue source, and without that funding these schools are forced to do more with even less. 

John Miller, a professor at Western Illinois University and President of University Professionals of Illinois (IFT Local 4100) lamented the House Republicans’ inability to follow the Senate’s lead. 

“We are deeply disappointed and frustrated with Governor Rauner and the Republicans who support his political agenda over our students, their districts, and the state’s future. The Governor claims to prioritize education but fails to support Illinois colleges and universities.  He rejected the budget, and vetoed MAP grants. Today, the House Republicans joined his decision to hold our students as bargaining chips for his failed agenda.  We need to fund our future, and we need to do it now.”