Lack of state funding taking a toll on Illinois universities - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lack of state funding taking a toll on Illinois universities


The cost to send your kids to college in Illinois just keeps going up.

Like many state universities, officials at Western Illinois University say if Illinois' budget issues aren't addressed soon, tuition will continue increasing.

This fall new students at WIU will be paying 4.5% more across the board than students did last year, totaling about an extra $800.

That's to make up for the lack of money WIU is supposed to be getting from the state.

And WIU isn't alone, as universities across Illinois are being forced to hike up their costs.

Joseph Talton is one of about 200 incoming freshman that were at orientation Tuesday at WIU.

And Talton was quick to admit that getting here wasn't easy, because the more universities raise tuition costs, the more money that has to come out of his pocket.

"The government is pushing education and pushing college education, but raising it to where it's harder for students to come and get that education," said Talton.

And WIU Budget Director Matt Bierman says unfortunately for students like Talton, universities have to raise rates because the state is behind on paying out over $40 million in funding for higher education.

Bierman says WIU alone has lost over $7 million from their budget in the past four years, and the cuts run deep.

"Everything from putting off the purchase of replacement equipment for everything from computers, it certainly has put off and cut the amount of periodicals and those kinds of things we can purchase for our library," said Bierman.

But Bierman says until the state solves the pension reform issue, state universities will likely keep raising rates.

"Once they have that and once they have a plan, then they can look at other things, but until then, the ramp up payment for pensions continues to erode funding," said Bierman.

Bierman says even though it's too late to apply for MAP and PELL grants, he advises incoming students to check with their individual college as there are still some smaller scholarships available.



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