Joint campaign seeks a robust reinvestment in Illinois higher education
(CHICAGO, IL) — Eastern Illinois University is joining forces with its peer institutions across the state to build additional awareness of both the need for and the value of a strong reinvestment in Illinois higher education.
The universities rallied together today to launch a statewide campaign, which includes video messages from university students, emails to alumni, and public appeals by university presidents asking communities and legislators for elevated state support of higher education.
This lockstep initiative follows a two-year Illinois budget crisis that saw funding for higher education throughout Illinois reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars. The impasse forced universities to defer routine maintenance and upkeep while realigning their already diminished state resources to ensure ongoing student success. That lack of state support significantly accelerated the outmigration of students who opted to spend tuition dollars at universities outside Illinois.
“With the budget impasse behind us, it’s time for Illinois to move forward in recommitting itself to higher education,” declared EIU President Dr. David Glassman. “Never before in Illinois’ history have the benefits of consistent, reliable funding been so plainly evident, nor have they been so noticeably necessary for the health and happiness of our state’s citizenry, businesses, and economies.”
The campaign, called The Time is Now: Re-invest in Illinois Higher Education, focuses on the importance of increased funding for Illinois public universities. A reinvestment by the state would allow institutions of higher education in Illinois to continue driving economic growth and development through their collective development of a highly qualified Illinois workforce—itself a significant beacon for attracting additional businesses and families to the Land of Lincoln. The premise is supported by economic impact surveys, which indicate the nine public universities together contribute billions to the state’s economy annually and across their distinctive regions. An increase in funding by state leaders would demonstrate confidence in—and a commitment to—Illinois’ public universities. It would also acknowledge their roles in providing for a civic-minded citizenry, lifelong increased earnings potential for residents, a highly qualified workforce for business and industry, and multi-faceted direct and indirect economic activity that is statewide in impact.
The Illinois General Assembly is set to conclude its work on May 31, 2019. Part of that work includes determining the operations and capital funding allocations for all of Illinois’ public universities. Interested advocates are encouraged to join the campaign by following the #IAmTheROI hashtag on social media, which will be used to share the success stories of Illinois universities’ and their alumni across social media platforms while the state’s General Assembly finalizes the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, public advocates may request their legislators show support for higher education in Illinois by submitting a convenient online request form, available at https://p2a.co/USSQTFm.
For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its various programs and services, visit the EIU website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.