Chicago State University students and their supporters rallied at the Thompson Center Monday morning, demanding state action to avert a possible shutdown of the predominately black university due to the budget impasse.
Holding signs that read, “Black minds matter” and “Save CSU,” students urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and state legislators to end the ongoing fiscal battle that has left Illinois without a budget since July 1.
CSU serves over 4,000 students and depends on the state for 30 percent of its budget. The university and other Illinois higher education institutions have gone unfunded during the stalemate in Springfield. As a result, CSU declared itself in a financial state of emergency last week, increasing the possibility of layoffs and cuts to keep the university operating. CSU officials have previously stated that the university could go broke by March.
CSU senior Lakeisha Perry, a psychology major on track to graduate next December, said the budget uncertainty is “nerve-wracking.”
“You work so hard and then this happens,” she told Progress Illinois at the Thompson Center.
State colleges and universities in Illinois have thus far seen 1,000 fewer students return for the second semester due to the budget impasse’s impact on the Monetary Award Program, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has surveyed state colleges and universities to learn how they are handling Monetary Award Program grants, funding for which is caught up in the state budget stalemate.