Education | Politics

An Existing Problem Made Much Worse

A new report tracks Illinois’s longtime disinvestment in higher education

This graph shows the decrease in state funding for five public universities in Illinois between the 2015 and 2017 fiscal years. Funding this year went up from last year, but still remained well below funding from 2015, the last year Illinois had a comprehensive General Fund budget (Ellen Hao)

Illinois’s public universities are facing a virtually insurmountable funding crisis. According to a report recently published by the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA), higher education in Illinois suffered a 67.8 percent cut in its allocations from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016, receiving approximately one-third of the recommended budget proposed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). Because of the state legislature’s failure to approve a complete budget for higher education, public universities operated on the minimal funding from the $627 million stopgap budget, a short-term budget that appropriated a small amount for expenditures in higher education through January 2017.