NIU faculty to form union, seeks voice in school decisions

the instructors will join the Illinois Federation of Teachers. The union represents 100,000 elementary school teachers and other classroom employees as well as faculty and staff at several Illinois universities and community colleges. NIU support staff …

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NIU faculty to form union, seeks voice in school decisions

Higher ed finally gets (some) funding

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen echoed Chicago State’s comments, arguing that the $180 million allocated to the university – compared to the $647 million it received in 2015 – won’t be enough. The bill the House was considering Thursday …

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Higher ed finally gets (some) funding

President talks strategic plan, MAP grants and Title IX with Students | The Columbia Chronicle

Gathered in The Loft, 916 S. Wabash Ave., Columbia’s Student Governmental Association with hosted the “Let’s Chat” forum with President and CEO, Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, on April 26 for a conversation with students about current and future college initiatives.

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President talks strategic plan, MAP grants and Title IX with Students | The Columbia Chronicle

Thoughts from the embers: Student support necessary for MAP grants

Funding for higher education is a polarizing topic, especially during election cycles. This year, the status of the MAP grant and its redistribution will determine the fate of many college students all over Illinois — and the schools that are responsible for providing their financial aid.

One in five students at Knox are affected by the status of the MAP grant. That’s one in five of your peers and friends. It might be you.

So why is it not a bigger issue on our campus?

Last Wednesday, April 20, 11 spots were reserved to send students to a MAP grant rally in Springfield, Illinois. Only five showed up.

We recognize students are busy. School, extracurricular activities and work undoubtedly limit the amount of time we can dedicate to non-academic events. We also recognize that rallying for the MAP grant requires an informed political participation that is specific to Illinois. At a campus like Knox where almost half the student body comes from other parts of the world, Illinois politics are not necessarily obvious or well-understood. Even more, it can be uncomfortable to discuss socioeconomic status, especially in regards to our access to education.

The status of the MAP grants is a conversation that needs to happen among the student body.

Even for those who do not receive the grant, other students should be concerned about the financial state of their peers. If we consider the 325 students who receive aid and the $5,000 average grant amount, the school has a considerable amount of money that it will no longer be receiving from the state. What are the possible ramifications for other students? If Knox needs to keep up attendance, it’s possible we’ll see a rise in our tuition to shoulder the cost of external funding. Our endowment isn’t large enough to absorb the shock.

Even more, the unanticipated loss of revenue might force the college to reallocate funds. The thought of changing our curriculum and extracurricular activities begs the question: How important are these students?

They’re extremely important. These individuals are an integral part of the Knox community. They’re our peers. Recipients of the MAP grant are just as invested in their education as other students are. Why, then, were there only five people at the rally? Not only were these students able to voice their opinions, they also had the opportunity to meet with two Knox alums and witness the political process that goes into funding our education. We should be seeing the college advocate the importance of keeping such funding available for students and encourage students to support one another.

Students can begin by actually attending these sorts of rallies. Although voicing your opinion on social media is an important way to support those in need, taking the time to have a presence at rallies, demonstrations and protests conveys how important these issues really are. Voting is also a significant way students are able to participate and influence politics. Educating ourselves on these topic issues can already help us to become more involved. Regardless of how much these policies impact our education right now, how the funding is allocated directly represents our values as a society. Education is important, and so is every student.

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*Data from Illinois State Assistance Commission (Graphic by Donna Boguslavsky/TKS)

TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  Callie Rouse Casey Mendoza Donna Boguslavsky kate mishkin Kiannah Sepeda Knox College map grants Tawni Sasaki thoughts from the embers

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Thoughts from the embers: Student support necessary for MAP grants

OUR VIEW: Funds for Eastern fall far short

Eastern Illinois University was among higher education institutions that got a shot in the arm this week from the State of Illinois via a funding measure signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

But if EIU was a human being, and this was a real injection of medicine for its health, the patient wouldn’t have felt a thing.

Legislation inked by the governor on Monday means about $12.5 million for Eastern, or not quite one-third of its 2015 expected appropriations. At this rate, our patient will remain severely anemic.

Yes, it’s a step forward and a bipartisan move in the right direction. But this is a drop in the bucket compared to the state funding Eastern has coming to it, and certainly not enough to turn around the university’s ongoing budget ailments.

Diplomatically, Eastern President David Glassman said he appreciated the bipartisanship from Springfield.

“We understand this is a step toward a comprehensive FY16 budget, and anticipate further conciliation in continuing support of an accessible and affordable quality higher education for all citizens of Illinois,” Glassman said.

A bit of funding out of Springfield for higher education comes, ironically, just as Illinois has asked for some money back from schools, cities, townships and other taxing bodies from across the Land of Lincoln.

As the JG-TC reported last week, the Illinois Department of Revenue announced that taxing districts owe Illinois money after an error to the tune of an estimated $168 million.

An IDOR press release detailed that a tax system modernization initiative uncovered a misallocation to the Personal Property Replacement Tax (PPRT) Fund that began under the Gov. Pat Quinn administration. The over allocation was identified during the IDOR’s implementation of a new general ledger system.

What does the IDOR have to say about expecting money back from taxing bodies that the state itself owes large amounts of tax dollars? "We are certainly sensitive to the impact recouping these funds will have on some of our taxing districts," Connie Beard, IDOR director, said in the media statement. "We will be working with the impacted taxing districts to establish a plan to recapture the funds over an extended period of time."

Local entities that owe the state these funds include the Mattoon school district, $145,006.93; the Charleston school district, $105,642.11; and Lake Land College, $54,340.86.

And the same day that the state announced it would be asking for tax money back? The Charleston school board authorized taking out $4 million in tax anticipation warrants because of a shortfall in the district budget due to the state’s lack of funding.

Oh, Illinois. Thy name is "incompetence."

Just when should state residents expect to "recapture" some value to the dollars they pay in taxes? Where are the taxes that we all pay like clockwork going as the state remains without a budget nearly a year after one was due?

Every time we think Illinois has reached a new low, another clown comes out of the car — no offense to clowns intended.

We could say this every week, but we’ll say it anyway: The State of Illinois needs to get its act together, agree on a budget and keep institutions ranging from social services to higher education from succumbing to the illness that is an incompetence of leadership in this state.

Find real treatment for this disease of fiscal nonsense, Illinois leaders. We need a cure, stat.

— JG-TC Editorial Board

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OUR VIEW: Funds for Eastern fall far short