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WIU Part of Public Higher Education Funding Advocacy Campaign

May 23, 2019


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"The Time is Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education"


MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University has joined forces with peer institutions across the state to build awareness of the need for robust funding for Illinois public higher education. The universities have rallied together to launch the statewide campaign today (May 23).

The campaign, "The Time is Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education" focuses on the importance of contacting legislators to urge for increased funding for Illinois public universities so the institutions can continue to drive the state's economic growth and development. In WIU's 16-county service region, the economic impact is nearly $400 million. An increase in funding for public higher education will create jobs and spur more economic activity statewide, while providing students with much needed improvements to campus buildings, classrooms and new technology.

"As the Illinois General Assembly drafts the FY20 budget and creates a statewide capital program, it is crucial that alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members contact legislators and let them know funding for Western Illinois University is of the utmost importance," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "This year is incredibly important because of the possibility of a capital bill. Taking action now will help our efforts to secure funding for much-needed improvements to our campus buildings and classrooms."

During the FY16-FY18 Illinois budget crisis, funding for higher education throughout the state of Illinois was significantly reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars forcing universities to defer maintenance and realign resources to ensure continued student success. Since that time, the state has seen an outmigration of college students attending universities out of state due to the uncertainty of state support.

"Western Illinois University provides an affordable and world-class education. Education transforms lives for the better and is a proven pathway to upward mobility. Appropriate FY20 funding will allow us to continue our mission of educating our greatest asset in Illinois, our citizens," Thomas added.

The Illinois General Assembly is set to conclude its work Friday, May 31. Each University has submitted a proposal detailing capital and operational needs and has requested a funding increase.

"The time is now to ask our state legislators to invest in Illinois by increasing funding for higher education in Illinois and releasing capital funds for our region," Thomas said. "Your voice is necessary. Lawmakers need to know that you expect and deserve a strong public higher education system."



Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
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