Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Chicago State Universities To Receive Emergency Funding


Three of Illinois' public universities will be receiving a total of $17 million in emergency funding. The money is expected to be used to support the schools' operations until the end of the year.

On Wednesday, members of the Illinois Board of Higher Education voted unanimously to approve the last-minute funding for Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Chicago State universities, The Chicago Tribune reported. Western Illinois would receive about $8.4 million while Eastern Illinois would receive about $5.6 million and Chicago State would be granted just over $3 million.

The funding was provided through another stopgap plan to keep schools open. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed it on Jun. 30.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education was able to receive $20 million from the state's general revenue fund. With the money, the board is able to help schools that were in fiscal crisis. According to WQAD, the remaining $3 million will be given to the Illinois Community College Board in December.

"We are very happy there was a resolution because these funds allow the university to continue the rebuilding process and continue to provide quality education for our students," Cecil B. Lucy, interim president of Chicago State, said. "Anything more than a dollar that we didn't have before helps. This helps with our cash flow. We will continue the operations of the university without interruption."

Matt Bierman, interim vice president for administrative services and budget director at Western, revealed that the funding would be used for payroll and operating costs. "That will take us into the spring semester and we'll see what the legislature does between now and March," he added.

The Chicago Tribune noted that state law required the schools to prove that their fiscal status was a "financial emergency" so that they are eligible for emergency funding. Each of the schools submitted financial reports that included cash flow statements that show evidence of depleting resources, cash management strategies, pending debt payments as well as an analysis of possible use of restricted funds.

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