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ISAC in the News

March 21, 2017 - Our opinion: Higher ed leaders want, need state budget - When it comes to the ongoing state budget stalemate, just about every group has a story to tell. Social service agencies, local school districts, businesses that go unpaid for months on end, public employee unions — the list goes on. Throw higher education onto the pile, too.

March 18, 2017 - Start saving for college with a prepaid tuition program - Eric Zarnikow, Executive Director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, talks with WTAX’s Will Stevenson about MAP grants and the lack of a state budget, but also about “College Illinois!”, the 529 Prepaid Tuition Program ISAC administers.

March 18, 2017 - Illinois Universities Feel the Brunt of State's Fiscal Woes - With the budget stalemate in Illinois in its 21st month, public universities in the state are going beyond belt-tightening to deal with a funding drought that has no end in sight. (A subscription is required to view this article.)

March 9, 2017 - EIU leader, others testify before state panel - Eastern Illinois University's president, along with other state university presidents, indicated to the Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee on Monday that there is little more from their budgets that can be cut.

March 9, 2017 - Dietz: Impasse could lead to higher education 'disaster' - With the failure of the so-called “grand bargain” to resolve Illinois' budget stalemate, higher education officials are expressing concern over what comes next.

March 8, 2017 - State universities asked to ‘tighten belt’ to fill possible deficit - Representatives from the nine public universities and three higher education agencies met with the Senate Committee on Higher Education Tuesday and were asked how they can “tighten their belts” in order to fill a proposed budget deficit.

March 7, 2017 - Students concerned about Governors State tuition increase, program cuts - Rocio Carbral is a junior majoring in health administration at Governors State University in University Park.
But the 26-year-old single mother said she fears the school's plan to raise tuition by 15 percent will strain her financially.

March 4, 2017 - Local colleges in a bind again over unfunded MAP grants - Delayed state funding for higher education continues to plague local colleges and universities, forcing many again this spring to replace promised Illinois Monetary Award Program grant funds with institutional money.

February 28, 2017 - Illinois Senate Approves Portions of 'Grand Bargain' - The plan, which still requires approval from the Illinois House and Gov. Bruce Rauner, would also fund Monetary Award Program grants for low-income students in the state.

February 28, 2017 - Wintrust Business Lunch 2/28/17: Presidential Speeches, Powerful Workouts, & College Tuition - The market is preparing itself for President Trump’s speech tonight detailing his plan for the economy, and Jon Najarian (CNBC Contributor) told us a little bit about how he approached the late morning market drop. Andrew Herrmann (Sr. Editor at DNA Info) told us about a West Loop bed and breakfast that will continue to develop the bustling neighborhood, Suzanne Muchin (Co-Host of The Big Payoff) told us about one of the most powerful workouts in the country, and Eric Zarnikow (Executive Director of The Illinois Student Assistance Commission) taught listeners about how a prepaid tuition program for college might be best option through the College Illinois! program.

February 17, 2017 - Gov's Proposal Makes No Cents For Current MAP Students - Low-income college students have a glimmer of hope now that Governor Bruce Rauner has included money for Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, in his budget plan. But students already in school may not enjoy the benefit.

February 17, 2017 - Rose may try again for MAP grant limits - Rebuffed three times before by his legislative colleagues, state Sen. Chapin Rose said Thursday that he may again try to prohibit state Monetary Award Program grant money from going to students who attend for-profit schools such as DeVry University.

February 16, 2017 - 12 fast facts about Gov. Rauner's budget plan - Gov. Bruce Rauner used his third budget speech Wednesday to break his silence on the Senate's "grand bargain" and say he is against raising sales taxes on food and medicine and wants a permanent property tax freeze to compensate for a permanent income tax increase.

February 16, 2017 - Gov's MAP Grant Proposal Leaves Students Hanging - Eric Zarnikow is in charge of Illinois’ program to help low-income students pay college tuition, known as MAP grants. He cheered yesterday when Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed increasing MAP funding by 10 percent, saying it could accommodate 12,000 more students, or increase the size of the grants.

February 15, 2017 - A look at how Illinois' budget fight has affected residents - The fight over Illinois' state budget has been directly felt by more than 1 million residents, from people with disabilities to seniors and college students. It also has exacerbated the state's already pathetic financial situation.

February 15, 2017 - University Center Receives Innovative Initiative Award - The University Center of Lake County received the Innovative Initiative Award from the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education (ICCHE) at ICCHE's 42nd Annual Conference on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The award recognized the University Center's "First Generation College Outreach Program."

February 15, 2017 - ‘There is no way to justify this’ - Western Illinois University hosted the Center for Tax and Budget Accounting’s (CTBA) Executive Director Ralph M. Martire and Research Associate Danielle Stanley to present their findings on the impact of the ongoing issues with the state budget.

February 15, 2017 - Gov. Rauner bemoans 'automatic spending' during budget address - During an address to the Illinois General Assembly, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois cannot get a handle on spending until lawmakers take on "automatic spending categories" such as pensions and Medicaid.

The first-term Republican gave his third budget address Wednesday to a joint session of the General Assembly and called for a "hard cap" on spending to force frugality, outlining spending priorities for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

February 14, 2017 - State budget battle overshadows legislative lunch - Over lunch Tuesday, three state legislators talked with Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce members about economic development — once Illinois finally gets a budget.

February 14, 2017 - Eastern spring enrollment follows fall's lower numbers - Fall enrollment numbers are historically higher than numbers in the spring, and this year was no different, according to Eastern Illinois University spring enrollment numbers.

February 9, 2017 - Throng Of Students Protests At Capitol, Calling For University And MAP Grant Funding - About 200 students protested in the Illinois Capitol rotunda Wednesday. They’re part of the Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education. The group wanted to show lawmakers the importance of funding colleges and universities, as well as MAP grants for students.

February 9, 2017 - NEIU Struggling To Keep Doors Open Amid State Budget Stalemate - Northeastern Illinois University students, faculty and staff converged on Springfield Wednesday along with their counterparts from across the state to rally at the capital for higher education funding.

February 9, 2017 - Kishwaukee College enrollment decline continues this spring - Overall enrollment is down about 6.7 percent at Kishwaukee College compared with the previous spring semester, continuing a downward trend that can be contributed in part to a lack of state funding, officials said.

February 9, 2017 - Bradley students lobby for MAP grants in Springfield - Students relying on MAP grants say their education may be in jeopardy if lawmakers do not figure out the funding. Wednesday, they took their message to Springfield.

February 8, 2017 - Higher education supporters hold rally in Springfield - Supporters for higher education across the state made the journey to Springfield Wednesday, despite a blizzard, to rally for higher education and Monetary Award Program Grant funding.

February 8, 2017 - Bradley University students push for MAP grant funding - A group of Bradley University students headed to the state Capitol on Wednesday morning to bring a message to Peoria-area legislators: State funds to help needy college students can be the make-or-break funds for keeping kids in school and helping them get a degree.

February 8, 2017 - College Students Rally at Statehouse - College students rallied in the state Capitol rotunda Wednesday. They’re urging lawmakers to restore state funding to universities and community colleges.

February 3, 2017STATE OF THE STANDOFF: Budget stalemate leaves some universities 'running on fumes' - Public community college and university officials in Illinois are walking a tightrope, trying to emphasize the harm being done by the ongoing state budget stalemate without scaring off potential students and making matters worse.

January 27, 2017Without MAP, Students Have Nowhere To Go - The ongoing state budget impasse, now in its second year, has been particularly tough for low-income college students who rely on the state’s Monetary Award Program -- known as the MAP grant -- to help cover tuition.

January 26, 2017 - The New Financial-Aid Timeline: How Colleges Are Adjusting - The "early Fafsa" could help students make better college decisions, but admissions officials are still sorting out what the change means for them. (premium subscription required)

January 24, 2017 - Universities could see funding restored in Senate budget deal - Public universities in Illinois would see state funding restored to the level it was before the start of the ongoing budget impasse under a bipartisan “grand bargain” being considered in the state Senate.

January 10, 2017 - Senate holds off on budget deal vote; House passes temporary plan - The Illinois Senate won’t vote on a proposed bipartisan compromise to end the state’s 18-month budget standoff until after the new General Assembly takes office on Wednesday.

January 10, 2017 - Pritchard calls for public pressure as schools, agencies face more uncertainty with no state budget - Members of Illinois’ 100th General Assembly will be sworn in Wednesday and tasked with a job that lawmakers have been unable to accomplish for a year and a half – pass a state budget for an entire fiscal year.

January 8, 2017 - Illinois Senate puts forth budget framework in final 2 days - The Illinois Senate is poised to attempt a state budget solution on its own as the General Assembly returns to Springfield on Monday for the final two days of session.

January 7, 2017 - Local colleges brace for MAP grant cutbacks
- The lack of a state budget could impact low-income students this academic year, and colleges have begun planning for how to assuage the situation if that happens.

January 3, 2017 - Local colleges continue to struggle with uncertain state funding - As Illinois enters 2017 without a budget in place, higher education institutions such as Joliet Junior College continue to struggle with the uncertainty of state funding.

January 3, 2017 - Stopgap budget set to expire, returning Rauner-Madigan standoff to where it was last summer - A stopgap budget expires Sunday, and with it state government funding for public universities, social service agencies that provide care for the elderly and disabled, and day-to-day expenses such as electricity for buildings.