CHRONICLE: Fewer Illinois students choosing Illinois schools after Rauner budget impasse

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Fewer Illinois high school graduates are choosing to go to college in Illinois, according to recent data. The news comes as the state’s colleges and universities are recovering from Governor Bruce Rauner’s brutal two-year budget impasse that massively cut their funding.

In 2002, 71 percent of Illinois high school graduates attending four-year universities chose in-state schools, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, reported the Chicago Tribune. In 2015, just 55 percent chose Illinois colleges.

The problem was made dramatically worse by the budget impasse, during which Illinois colleges were forced to institute furloughs, lay off hundreds of staff, raise tuition, and eliminate academic programs. All but two schools – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois at Chicago – had lower enrollment this fall.

In July, the Governor vetoed the bill funding the universities and providing for lower-income student grants. However, bipartisan supermajorities in both houses were able to override his veto in order to rescue universities – among many other entities – from further damage.

Universities are now in recovery mode, seeking ways to improve their programming and recruit more students, both in-state and out of state, despite the Governor’s actions.

Rauner has previously proposed cuts of 30 percent to higher education, while shifting some state pension obligations to the schools.

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