Letter to the Editor | Reverse Onerous State Cuts to Higher Education | Chicago Sun Times
We applaud the Sun-Times' focus on addressing the debt burden faced by too many of our college students and the ripple effect it has across families and communities.
Nivine Megahed, president of National Louis University, has rightly called for radically rethinking tuition structures and the business model for higher education. Larger public investment in our students is equally important.
A key factor contributing to increased student debt has been the decline in state investment in higher education by the General Assembly and governors of both parties. Thus, the burden of financing a college education has now been largely shifted to students and their families.
We must reverse the decline in the number of students receiving Illinois' need-based student aid program, the Illinois Monetary Assistance Program award, and commit to funding the MAP award at a level that ensures that every student who qualifies receives the award. Funding must also ensure that the award covers the cost of tuition at the state's public universities, as it did as recently as 2002.
While the recent budget passed by the Legislature is an important first step in reversing over a decade of disinvestment in higher education, much more is needed from our elected officials in order to lessen the financial burden of higher education on the state's low-income and working class students. The health of our students and our state depends on it.
Kyle Westbrook, The Partnership for College Completion