MAP Grant funding available to Lake Land College students

The recently passed Illinois state budget means Lake Land College students who qualified for financial aid from the state will receive it for the 2017-2018 school year.

This form of financial aid is called the MAP grant and it does not have to be repaid. To help students who are making higher education decisions for fall 2017, the college is applying MAP grants to accounts for students who qualify.

Students can check their MAP grant status by logging into their Laker Hub account and selecting �Financial Aid� under the IRIS menu on the left and then �Award Letter.� While in the Laker Hub, students can register for New Student Orientation or call 217-234-5301.

For many students, a MAP grant combined with a Pell grant, both of which do not have to be repaid, will cover all tuition and fees for Lake Land College for the year. Tuition and fees for one year are about $3,900, nearly a fourth of tuition and fees at the average state university.

Lake Land College assures students who qualify will receive the MAP grant financial aid for the fall 2017 semester, which starts Aug. 21. There is plenty of time for new students to get started! Visit and look for the �Enroll Now� button or call 217-234-5254.

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via Shelby County News

July 21, 2017 at 03:28AM

MAP Grant funding available to Lake Land College students

Illinois is so horrible that it’s dragging down national higher ed averages

* InsiderHigherEd

It’s impossible to examine state higher education finances in 2016 without separating the collapse in Illinois from a more nuanced picture across the rest of the country.

State and local support for higher education in Illinois plunged as the state’s lawmakers and governor were unable to reach a budget agreement and instead passed severely pared-down stopgap funding. Educational appropriations per full-time equivalent student in the state skidded 80 percent year over year, from $10,986 to $2,196. Enrollment in public institutions dropped by 11 percent, or 46,000 students.

That situation proved to be enough of an outlier that it weighed down several key markers in the 2016 State Higher Education Finance report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers association, which is being released today. The report annually offers an in-depth look at the breakdown of state and local funding, tuition revenue, enrollment, and degree completion across public higher education, a sector that enrolls roughly three-quarters of students in U.S. postsecondary education.

Include Illinois in the report’s key markers, and overall public support for higher education fell by 1.8 percent per full-time equivalent student in 2016, to $6,954, according to the report. Exclude Illinois, and overall support increased by 3.2 percent, to $7,116.

Mind boggling.

The full study is here.

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via Capitol – Your Illinois News Radar

April 20, 2017 at 01:52AM

Illinois is so horrible that it’s dragging down national higher ed averages

ISU investment rating under review by Moody’s

NORMAL — Moody’s Investment Service is reviewing Illinois State University and five other schools for a possible credit rating downgrade, but university officials are confident ISU can retain its current rating.

Moody’s said the review was prompted by the state’s failure to enact a budget providing full operating funding to the university for the current fiscal year.

The review affects about $2.2 billion of public university debt, according to an announcement from Moody’s.

Greg Alt, retiring vice president for finance and planning at ISU, said Wednesday, “We feel confident we’ll hold the rating.”

Alt said Moody’s reviews universities regularly but, “It’s just a little more formal review this time.”

The rating affects both existing debt and future debt.

If ISU’s rating is downgraded, “the cost of borrowing money is higher,” said Alt.

The university is not doing any capital projects requiring new debt, he said, and funding is already in place for the planned Bone Student Center renovation.

However, Alt said, “we’re beginning work on refinancing the Cardinal Court project. We would like to proceed with that by fall.”

A downgrade would impact that but Alt emphasized, “We’d still be able to issue debt. … We’re still investment grade.”

ISU has a rating of Baa1 for Auxiliary Facilities System Revenue Bonds and Baa2 for Certificates of Participation.

The auxiliary facilities bonds received a higher rating because they involve restricted funds for residential and athletics facilities, Alt explained. The certificates are covered by general revenue, which is more affected by state funding.

Among the state’s public universities, only the University of Illinois has a higher rating from Moody’s than ISU.

The U of I is part of the review announced Monday, as are Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and Governors State universities.

Northeastern Illinois University’s Certificates of Participation were downgraded from Baa2 to B1 on Monday by Moody’s.

The review will include budgeted fiscal 2018 operations and assumptions and an assessment of near-term debt service commitments against pledged revenues and related reserves, according to Moody’s.

Some schools could see their ratings drop by more than one notch “depending on liquidity and ongoing ability to adjust to the prolonged lack of state operating funding,” Moody’s said.

Alt’s optimism about ISU’s rating relates to its steady enrollment and contingency plans the university has developed “even if state funding is delayed or reduced,” he said.

“We’re able to demonstrate how we’re managing the situation,” said Alt.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota

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April 20, 2017 at 01:10AM

ISU investment rating under review by Moody’s

SIU could see potential credit rating downgrade


With the Illinois state budget impasse now in it’s 22 month, state universities are starting to feel the affects in more ways than one.

First, the $30 million in cuts for Southern Illinois University, now the university’s credit rating could be taking a hit.

According to Moody’s credit rating, Northeastern Illinois University has already been downgraded, and SIU along with five other state universities could be next.

According to Moody’s Investor Service, the review of the six Illinois public universities is prompted by the failure of the state to pass a budget.

Senior on the SIU campus, Laini Watts, said she is thinking about her future.

“Maybe moving out of state, I don’t want to stay here with this. I mean taxes are already high enough, we don’t even see our taxes being used,” Watts said. “And it’s just, I don’t really want to deal with that. Especially since I’m from cook county and they have the highest taxes. Not only in the state, but I think in the country. I just, I don’t want to deal with paying into a system that doesn’t do anything for me.”

Watts wants to continue her schooling in the future, but not a public school in Illinois. Another student at SIU, John Potts, is also looking ahead.

“I’m kind of worried that we are going to lose some of our departments, but I’m pretty sure since I’m I the chemistry department and we get federal grant and we get military grants, I mean we bring in money. I’m sure my department will still exist, but I’m worried about the other stem majors that might not, ” Potts said.

The potential downgrade of ratings will directly and indirectly affect SIU.

“In terms of the day to day operations of the campus, no one will feel it,” President Randy Dunn said. “If you are not going out to acquire more debt or to do a debt issuance for borrowing purposes, there isn’t an immediate and direct impact that’s felt. But again it does play into this concern about reputation.  About the public’s confidence in its state universities, and that’s something we have to speak to and deal with in a very forthright manner.”

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via KFVS – Heartland News

April 19, 2017 at 10:39AM

SIU could see potential credit rating downgrade

Eastern waiting out budget impasse

CHARLESTON — There was hardly a moment of doubt for Eastern Illinois University leaders that an Illinois state budget would be passed and passed relatively soon back in 2015.

Even though a budget was not passed by the end of the legislative session May 31 that year, EIU President David Glassman said it was not a worry just yet.

“That is not the first time, for the state, that they haven’t completed a budget by the end of the session,” Glassman said. “So, I wasn’t particularly concerned because that has happened before.”

In 2007, the state lawmakers and the governor at the time, Rod Blagojevich, were at odds, unable to pass a budget for a six-week stint.

“The assumption is that it would get done in the next month or couple of months, and then we would have our budget and everything would run as it normally has,” Glassman said. “We just always assumed a budget would come.”

Even for state leaders, the expectation was that it would happen relatively soon.

“I always had it in the back of my head that, you know, it was not going to play out the way it would play out,” State Rep. Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, said. “I always thought, somehow, that we would get some sort of budget.”

But days passed, then months and Illinoisans had yet to see their lawmakers pass a budget.

“There would be various deadlines that we would hear about,” Glassman said. “Those deadlines kept getting extended and extended.”

State lawmakers said it would be the next month. Then, they would say it would come by the end of the year, but the impasse continued.

And still today, state lawmakers and the governor have yet to come to an agreement on a budget — one year and nine months into the budget impasse, making this not the first, but the longest time the state has taken to hammer out a budget.

As each month passed, budget tightening at state universities became more frequent.

EIU responded fairly quickly to the news that money would not be coming down the pipeline. After the budget failed to make it through, Eastern furloughed 222 administrative and professional employees.

Soon after, development projects on the campus were halted and layoff notices went out. It would not be until January 2016, though, when the big cuts came. As tuition dollars started running thin and the state seemed none too eager to pass a budget, Eastern leaders made the decision to cut an estimated 200 positions.

This news prompted activism among many people in Charleston and started one of the bigger rallies, of which there have been many now, calling for the state to fund the universities as well as sparking a funding effort to aid laid off workers.

Soon after employees were laid off, a Charleston area group, Support EIU Employees, began to collect funds for those recently laid off employees to pay bills and other necessary items.

After a couple fundraising efforts, the group amassed $16,000 for EIU employees in need.

Andy Eggers, Support EIU Employees member, said it was a swell of surprising support from the community that made the funding efforts possible.

“It was impressive to me — the idea that everyone in the community was a part of it,” Eggers said.

“Made me realize how many people are dependent on EIU and how many people realize that,” he continued.

The group still has funds they are willing to distribute. Leaders have now opened up their parameters to include any EIU employee, former or otherwise, who has fallen on hard times. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.

Another group, Fund EIU, sought to work on state funding for the university. The initial “Fund EIU” rally on Eastern’s campus, along with other rallies at places struggling more at the time, such as Chicago State University, garnered significant media attention and shone a spotlight on what the budget standoff, just months in, had done to universities that rely on state funding.

Universities have yet to receive additional funding beyond what was given to them by the end of the year.

While Eastern officials have made no mention of cuts either in the near future or down the road, other universities such as Southern Illinois University have taken such steps. SIU officials recently announced $30 million in potential cuts to the university to offset the lack of state funding, according to the Southern Illinoisan newspaper.

Another school, Northeastern Illinois University, has been temporarily furloughing employees numerous times in recent weeks, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Today, state leaders are still sparring over the details of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda, which includes items such as term limits and worker’s compensation reform, and the long-term budget impasse appears to have no end in sight.

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April 17, 2017 at 03:50PM

Eastern waiting out budget impasse

State university presidents go back to Springfield for budget hearing

State university presidents go back to Springfield for budget hearing

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

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University Presidents went to Springfield for a budget hearing Thursday, this time in front of the House-Appropriations Higher Education committee.

According to an article in the News-Gazette, Eastern President David Glassman spoke on staff cuts at Eastern, as well as the interfund borrowing and deferred maintenance that has come as a result of the now more than two-year long budget impasse.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget for Eastern gives the university a $36 million appropriation, but the university’s trustees request about $10 million more, as stated in the News-Gazette, which would refill depleted reserves and pay for campus repairs and maintenance as well as laboratory and equipment purchases.
Eastern’s reserve fund is now down to $3 million, whereas it had $27 million two years ago.
Richard Wandling, chair of the political science department, said these budget hearings are a standard part of the political process, with legislators reviewing new recommendations the governor has made for the upcoming fiscal year-but this has not been a normal budget process.
“One thing that is true is that presidents of public universities are spending a lot more time in Springfield in the current cycle than what they traditionally would do,” Wandling said.
There are multiple reasons for this, he said, including the fact that regional public institutions such as Eastern have been experiencing challenges under the budget impasse.
Eastern took major hits last year, Wandling said, and while it is in the news less these days for fiscal challenges, the situation is “still quite dire.”

In the News-Gazette, Glassman was quoted as saying that Eastern started the budgetary impasse “extremely lean,” and has only made itself leaner.

“We are so efficient that we are inefficient at this time,” he said at the hearing. “We have cut beyond where we need to cut in order to have our services at the appropriate level.”
Glassman said in an email to the News that the university will continue in this state until lawmakers and the governor return to providing stable appropriations to the university, which would allow it to recall employees to fill critical positions currently vacant on campus.

A cynical way of looking at these budget hearings would be that they are not much more than “political symbolism,” Wandling said, however, from a strategy standpoint, university presidents need to explore every avenue possible to get the word out on the severity of the budget situation.
These hearings provide an opportunity for universities to get this message out to the media or even legislators themselves and bring the issue to the attention of the broader public, he said.

Exposing these issues does not come without its own risks, though.
Wandling said by speaking on these problems, the idea that that public universities are experiencing difficulties gets picked up by the media and in turn, parents of high school and community college students.

However, if university officials do not speak on these challenges, there is an assumption that universities do not need as much funding.
“The unfortunate reality is it’s almost a no-win situation for public university presidents,” he said.
During the hearing, Glassman mentioned how “public relations issues,” i.e. the budget impasse, have hurt Eastern’s enrollment, as it has caused a lack of confidence with some parents of potential students.
“I and others continue to hear how some parents and their prospective students are looking more closely at possibly going to universities and colleges outside of Illinois,” Glassman said. “They are concerned about the state not funding their public universities and colleges at an appropriate level.”
Glassman said he has only heard from concerned parents a couple of times this entire year, though, which is substantially less than what he heard last year.
Parents have noticed that the state has been given Eastern and other public universities stopgap appropriation, he added, and they are reassured that Eastern will continue to provide an educational experience to its students.
Josh Norman, associate vice president for enrollment management, said while it is hard to keep track of perception, in a College Choice survey conducted last year, students cited the condition of the state of Illinois as a reason they were choosing out-of-state institutions for the first time.
“There isn’t the confidence when you have the sort of inaction that is taking place in Springfield, there isn’t the same confidence in education in the state of Illinois,” he said.
The inaction of the state does not impact of the quality of education at Eastern, Norman said, which is a message they are continually relaying to prospective students.
This includes what sets the university apart and making sure when students visit the university they engage in a personal relationship with a faculty member or admissions counselor.
“The way you do change that perception is you make sure the positive narrative is heard over and over and over again,” Norman said. “All that’s in the air doesn’t matter when you’re able to make a personal connection with a student.”
The problem, he said, is that the opportunity for this personal connection is not always there because if a student decides they are going out of state and does not even apply to Eastern, the university will not even get the opportunity to tell that narrative.
To combat this and get the message out in a broader sense, Norman said they are working with the recently chosen advertising agency Thorburn Group to reshape the public perception and sharpen the university’s brand.
Admissions director Kelly Miller said families are concerned with what the state is doing to higher education in general.
However, she said families see that Eastern continues to serve students, so she has not been hearing those concerns.
“As crazy as it is, this is like the new normal, which we don’t want the state to think that that they can just not pass a budget for years,” she said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or

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via The Daily Eastern News

April 16, 2017 at 04:49PM

State university presidents go back to Springfield for budget hearing

NEIU prepares for another year of furloughs

NEIU prepares for another year of furloughs

As the Illinois budget crisis lingers, NEIU’s many students, workers, employees and faculty face the brunt of the state’s inability to compromise.

Photo by Steven Villa

Photo by Steven Villa

As the Illinois budget crisis lingers, NEIU’s many students, workers, employees and faculty face the brunt of the state’s inability to compromise.

Brett Starkopf, Editor-in-Chief

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For the second year in a row NEIU will begin preparing for a “salary-savings program” starting this spring semester announced Interim President Richard Helldobler in a Feb. 3 email to the NEIU community.

Helldobler said the “salary-savings plan” or “furlough program” is the “most fair and least intrusive way for Northeastern to survive financially through the summer months until fall tuition dollars become available.”

Without stop-gap funding and state appropriations, the 19-month budget impasse has NEIU, “experiencing the worst budgetary climate it has ever experienced in its history” and “there does not seem (to be) a solution in the near future,” Helldobler said.

The spring semester and May commencement ceremony will proceed as planned but, NEIU “must find ways to stay afloat beyond that,” Helldobler said.

It is unclear as of Feb. 4 what the salary-savings program will entail for faculty and staff as negotiations have yet to begin, though Helldobler said in his email that the “five collective bargaining units that represent Northeastern employees” have been reached. It is also unclear as to when the program will begin since negotiations could last “about four to five weeks.”

The furlough program last spring affected about 1,000 full-time faculty and staff by forcing them to take a one-day leave of absence per week, cutting their salaries by 20 percent. Employees who were 100 percent grant-funded, student aides, graduate assistants, adjuncts and work study employees were not affected by last year’s furloughs.

“The only thing that will keep us from a salary-savings plan, or furlough program, is receiving adequate funding from the state,” Helldobler said. “At the moment, that prospect looks grim.”

Helldobler also said in the email that should the school receive state funding “prior to” or “at the beginning” of the furloughs, the program will be halted temporarily while the school “discuss(es) options” about the financial situation.

Students, faculty and staff are requested by the Office of Student Leadership Development to attend the “Statehouse Rally to Save Higher Education” on Feb. 8. Bus transportation will be provided from the main campus to Springfield. Students are requested to be at school at 8 a.m. The buses depart from Parking Lot D at 8:30 a.m.

Students can email Student Affairs at in order to reserve a seat on the bus.



via The Independent

February 7, 2017 at 04:34PM

NEIU prepares for another year of furloughs