Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), along with members of the Illinois General Assembly, approved bipartisan legislation on Friday to provide $600 million in funding for higher education.
The bill is an effort to keep the doors open at struggling Illinois universities and community colleges during this unprecedented budget impasse. Senate Bill 2059 is a stopgap measure to provide emergency funding.
The action, which was also passed through the Senate, appropriates the funds from the Educational Assistance Fund (EAF) to Illinois’ public universities, the community college system, and MAP grants for college students. The EAF is a fund that is set aside for K through 12 education and higher education. The K through 12 portions has already been appropriated, leaving $600 million in the fund and available for re-appropriation.
“The passage of this bill required bipartisan cooperation and was an initiative of rank and file members who have been working on this bill for weeks in order to meet the immediate needs of our higher education institutions,” said Bourne. “I am optimistic that this spirit of cooperation can continue and we can come together to solve the budget crisis for the people of Illinois.”
Governor Bruce Rauner has signed the legislation and Comptroller Munger said that she will begin processing payments immediately. Students and institutions that are suffering the most will be given top priority. The Comptroller will continue disbursing funds as they become available, with final payments being made in July.