February 23, 2024

Contact: Lauren Grimaldi, lauren@partnershipfcc.org

CHICAGO, IL– Following Governor JB Pritzker’s FY25 budget proposal, the Partnership for College Completion (PCC) is disappointed to see a proposed FY25 state budget that offers a weak across-the-board increase in state appropriations for higher education institutions ignoring the need for equitable distribution and a low Monetary Award Program (MAP) increase that does not keep up with inflation.

“While we understand that FY25 will be a tough budget year, the Governor’s proposed $10M increase into MAP is not enough to best serve all Black, Brown and low-income students in Illinois who rely on this grant to pay for their education,” said Christian Perry, PCC Director of Policy and Advocacy. “With 60 percent of students of color in Illinois relying on MAP to fund their education, and 57 percent of recipients being first-generation students, it is critical that Illinois makes these investments. This underscores the importance of the upcoming report that the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding will soon release.” 

In early March, the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding will release its recommendations for a new state funding formula that equitably, adequately and stably distributes funding to public colleges and universities in Illinois. Once released, PCC will educate lawmakers throughout this legislative session on the importance of the recommendations. This is the final, critical missing piece that connects our entire education ecosystem from preschool through to the workforce. Illinois needs an equity and evidence-based funding formula for its public universities to best serve its students. 

With a lesser increase in funding for MAP than the state has seen in recent years and a two percent increase in appropriations to universities, this formula is a way in which Illinois can avoid the roller coaster of disinvestment followed by short spurts of renewed investment we have seen over the past several decades that make things uncertain for students and the institutions that serve them. Additionally, in a leaner budget year such as this one, across-the-board funding distributions without an equitable formula will worsen the inequities that universities currently face, making the recommendations all the more important.

“These recommendations will be the mechanism by which we can have an equity and evidence-based approach to move our institutions toward adequacy,” Perry said. “We need an equity and evidence-based funding formula for our public universities in order to best serve Black, Brown and low-income students across our state. We cannot stand for anything less.” 

In addition to championing the recommendations from the Commission, PCC will work tirelessly during the next few months to ensure that Black, Brown and low-income students across Illinois get the funding they need to afford college. The Governor’s proposed increase of only $10 million into MAP will not keep up with inflation, and the state may have to offer smaller grants or return to denying grants to eligible applicants. If legislators prioritize a $50 million increase the state will more comfortably be able to cover all low-income applicants and continue the promising education trends that the Governor touted in his speech.

As the legislative session continues, PCC will educate lawmakers and the public about the importance of a substantial increase in MAP funding and the proposed recommendations to serve best and help every student in Illinois receive the funding they need to complete their college degree. 

“Two decades of disinvestment and the years of the budget impasse were very dark years for college students, and the colleges and universities that serve them. In the last three years, we have seen some reinvestment in state appropriations to higher education and big new investment in MAP grants, Illinois’ need-based aid program, but we need to keep going,” said Lisa Castillo Richmond, PCC Executive Director. “This governor has done great things for higher ed, but we have a lot of work that remains and we think that he can be the one to get the job done.” 

Read an in-depth analysis of the FY25 budget here.