U of I Day Held for Next Year’s School Funding


Photograph courtesy of Picture from uis.edu

Students and alumni attended U of I day at the Capitol

On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, there was a U of I day at the Capitol. There were students and alumni from each of the three U of I schools who all met in Springfield to lobby together. The purpose of the day was to lobby for the next year’s fiscal budget. The students were instructed to meet at 11 at Statehouse Inn in Springfield to have lunch and advocacy training. Upon their arrival at the lunch, each student was given a name tag with a senate district and a house district written on it. When the students arrived at the Capitol building after lunch, they all separated into their assigned groups for the day. They were instructed to talk to discuss the funding issues in their groups.
The goal of the day was to ask the Illinois General Assembly to fund the University of Illinois at a five percent increase from the previous year. Over the past few years, Illinois funding for higher education has decreased significantly. Many Illinois universities are struggling to stay open because of the lack of financial assistance from the state. This year, the University of Illinois is asking for a five percent increase, five years of stable income from the state, and to create the Illinois Excellence Program to recruit and retain faculty. The amount that the university is asking for is 681 million dollars. With their proposal, the University has also given their own budget for how the money would be divided. 77.3 million would go toward rebuilding faculty and strengthening academic quality, 16.1 million would go toward approving overall facility operations on the campuses, and 4.5 million would go toward addressing inflationary costs of operations.
Wednesday was a big day at the state capitol. There were several bills being voted on. Three of the topics that were being discussed were the U of I budget, hospital budgets, and gun regulation. There were people there lobbying for all of these issues, which means the capitol was chaotic all day. There has not yet been a resolution to the bill that has been proposed, but it was made clear to the Illinois General Assembly that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.