The student body president of the University of Illinois recognizes there could be waste at Illinois universities, something the governor’s office hopes to reduce before releasing tax dollars for tuition assistance grants and other higher education funding.
Students from public and private universities from around the state held a press conference as the Invest in Higher Education Coalition to put pressure on lawmakers and the governor to release funds for the Monetary Award Program and other tax dollars for public universities.
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However, several memos from the governor’s office highlight areas like high dollar salaries and perks for administrators as areas that could be reduced before taxpayer money is forwarded.
University of Illinois Student Body President Mitch Dickey addressed whether there’s waste in higher education.
“There is probably some waste at a university,” Dickey said. “When you have such a large system, that’s going to be the case. But all of our presidents, I know that mine -- Tim Killeen -- has definitely said multiple times that he’s very willing to look into this and he is looking into this and fixing them. We have a hiring freeze at the University of Illinois.”
As to fixing the MAP program, Dickey says that’s a good idea moving forward, but something has to be done now.
“We’re really looking right now at students that are currently here. And if we want to fix the MAP grant in the future I think that’d be great and I think a lot of people would listen to that but right now we’ve got students that are on the fiscal brink of collapse.”
Republican Representative Tom Demmer said last month that in the absence of state money each university is going to have to find cost savings from various areas of their budget, including contracts, supplies and salaries.
A memo from the governor's office to the General Assembly this week says a path forward out of the impasse could include tying tax dollars for MAP grants and other higher education funding to spending reductions or cost-saving reforms at universities.