Funding for low-income college students impacted by budget crisi -

Funding for low-income college students impacted by budget crisis

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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. ( – A bill that would fund high education for low-income students in Illinois was delivered to Gov. Bruce Rauner this week.

The bill would allow the governor to fund the MAP Grant, which gives low-income students at state universities money to help pay for college.

Southern Illinois University System President Randy Dunn previously sent out a warning that the college could close its doors if legislators do not fix the state's financial woes.

Dunn said the university has not received a check from the state in five months, forcing its Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses to operate on reserve funds.

"We're going to have to figure out a means to pay back about $200 million in operations and about $46 million or so in student aid and grants and contracts we typically get from the state," said Dunn. 

The university enacted cost saving measures months ago, like imposing a hiring and spending freeze. However, Dunn said it is possible the university could face financial problems that could take years to pay back. 

"I know the state is not doing so hot financially right now, but I didn't know it was starting to impact universities," said Mason Dunlap, a freshman at the Edwardsville campus.

Dunn said the university's doors will stay open through June 2016, but if the 5-month-old stalemate continues, layoffs could occur before the school potential shuts down.

SIUE later released a statement saying the university will not shut down.

"Despite what is circulating on social media and on the local broadcast news, SIUE is not in danger of closing. While the lack of a state budget is a financial crisis, SIUE will not close. Our budget realignment has put us in a sound fiscal position for this fiscal year and next," said SIUE Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen.

Hundreds of college students went to Springfield Wednesday, February 18 to call for lawmakers to end this economic uncertainty.

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