As a parent of a student in an Illinois public institution and a professor at an Illinois public higher education institution, I am keenly aware that public universities in the State of Illinois and MAP grants for students with financial needs have not been funded. How long and far-reaching will the governor’s actions affect students and families in Illinois?
My grandparents immigrated from Hungary and Ukraine in the early 1920s to southern Illinois where my grandfather worked in the coal mines. They had nothing in terms of material goods, but they believed in hard work, voting and education for their children. They sent their three children, one of whom was my father, to Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The only way this was possible was geographical access and grants and scholarships.
Over five generations, my family has earned 13 degrees at five Illinois public universities and three degrees are in process. All of this began because of geographical access to higher education and the ability to obtain grants and scholarships in Illinois. Without these two factors, future generations of my family likely would have been negatively affected in their ability to benefit from higher education.
Is Gov. Rauner willing to negatively impact future generations of families’ access to higher education in Illinois? Without full funding for all public higher education institutions and student MAP grants, multiple generations of students and their families will likely be negatively impacted.
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Mary Konya Weishaar, Ph.D., Belleville