University and alumni leaders arm advocates for legislative battles
President Hogan outlined budget challenges facing the University to over 300 Illinois Connection advocates. He urged advocates to continue to tell their legislators why the University of Illinois is worthy of sustained state support.
Talks by University of Illinois President Mike Hogan and Trustee Chair Chris Kennedy were among the highlights of the Illinois Connection Annual Meeting last Saturday. Both Kennedy and Hogan credited Illinois Connection advocates with playing an important and influential role in support of the University. More than 300 people attended Illinois Connection’s events on campus this past weekend, which included a brunch at the President’s house and (optional) attendance at the Illini’s winning match with South Dakota State (56-3).
At the meeting, held at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, President Hogan outlined budget challenges facing the University in large part because of the $312 million shortfall in funds promised by the state but not delivered. He urged Illinois Connection advocates to continue to tell their legislators why the University of Illinois is worthy of sustained state support.
Chairman Kennedy asserted that research institutions are powerful economic drivers vital to growth and prosperity. He observed that U of I produces innovative research in every field; which in turn produces new technologies and new products; which in turn create jobs; and jobs drive the economy.
Donovan Pepper (UIS ’94, MA‘96), Chair of the UIAA Advocacy Committee, outlined several issues under consideration in the Illinois General Assembly and the U.S. Congress that could have a dramatic effect on the University of Illinois.
Issues in the Illinois General Assembly
Last session, Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) student grants were cut. However, during the General Assembly’s veto session next month, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will be seeking legislative authority from the General Assembly to spend reserved funds to bridge the gap. Without these additional funds, the amount students receive for MAP grants will most likely be reduced in the spring semester.
In addition, last week UI Trustees passed an FY 2013 state operating and capital budget request for the University. This request now goes to the Board of Higher Education and will ultimately be considered by the legislature next spring.
Issues in the U.S. Congress
Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has been charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in additional savings and/or revenues. This new “super committee” may examine solutions that would affect the University of Illinois and its students, including possible reductions in Pell Grants, federal research funding and the deductibility of charitable contributions.
As our state and federal legislators try to balance their budgets, they will no doubt look towards solutions that could adversely affect the University of Illinois. Stay tuned for continued communications from Illinois Connection. We will arm you with talking points that you can communicate to your elected officials.
Thank you, as always, for being an advocate for the University of Illinois.
The Illinois Connection advocacy program is funded by voluntary donations to the Alumni Association from alumni and friends. Please consider making a gift so the UIAA can continue to advocate for a bright future for the University.