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Pritzker Highlights Proposed Investments at Lincoln Land Community College
Illinois Ag Connection - 03/16/2023

Wednesday, Governor JB Pritzker visited Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC), continuing to highlight his proposed investments in higher education. He was joined by Lt. Governor Stratton, stakeholders, and local and state leaders. With these proposed investments, virtually all community college students at or below the median income level will have their tuition and fees fully covered.

"Illinois is poised to make history: with the passage of my budget proposal, we're making it possible for every student to get a degree," said Pritzker. "When I first took office, people were choosing to leave Illinois to get a college education because they just couldn't afford it here. But now, by working with the General Assembly to invest in Illinois students and families, we're making college more affordable than ever."

"In Illinois, we see and believe in our young people. By making historic investments in our community colleges, state universities, and MAP grants, we are making it easier for students to achieve their dreams," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "This funding means access, affordability, and eases financial worry so that our schools and our students can focus on learning. It also means supporting innovation like Lincoln Land Community College's Land Lab, to inspire the next generation of Ag leaders. The result is more homegrown talent and a stronger Illinois."

Illinois has the third largest community college system in the nation. Pritzker has prioritized higher education funding in his proposed budget, increasing system funding for day-to-day operations at community colleges by over $25 million since the start of his administration. This proposed budget will add nearly $20 million in additional funding. With over 48 community colleges statewide, Illinois is making smart investments to open doors for Illinois residents to receive higher wages, new careers, and better jobs.

With college affordability at an all-time high, the proposed budget makes historic investments in financial aid. The proposed budget calls for an additional $100 million investment in Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grants, which provide assistance to eligible students demonstrating financial need and do not need to be repaid. This represents a 75% increase since the Governor took office, marking the highest level of MAP grants available in state history. Beginning last year, every student eligible for a MAP Grant received one, including one out of every three LLCC students.

At today's event, Governor Pritzker joined LLCC President Charlotte Warren at the College's main campus in Springfield. The school serves approximately 10,500 students annually, making it one of the largest community college districts in the state.

The FY24 budget has historic investments for community colleges. This includes funding for financial aid, infrastructure, and service programs. Investments such as the ones proposed in FY24 helped Lincoln Land stabilize tuition for next year, as well as offer some classes for free this upcoming summer.

The Rebuild Illinois capital plan dedicates nearly $500 million to community college infrastructure across the state. This includes over $3.7 million to renovate and expand the student services center at Lincoln Land Community College. Areas that will be renovated include existing facilities that handle registration, admissions, testing, financial aid, advising counseling, records, and other similar student service functions.

"Institutions like Lincoln Land Community College are pillars for the communities and regions they serve," said State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, (D-Chicago). "If we want to give every resident an opportunity to unlock their potential and pursue the academic achievement they deserve, we must responsibly invest in all aspects of our higher education system. I appreciate Governor Pritzker's focus on this issue, and look forward to continued, productive conversations on a budget plan that prioritizes our colleges and universities."

"There is no such thing as a dollar wasted on education, said State Rep. Katie Stuart, (Edwardsville). "In particular, enabling and encouraging talented students to study and to remain in Illinois boosts our economy and energized our communities and industries. That's why I support measures such as the AIM HIGH program and other initiatives that invest in Illinois' most valuable commodity, our people. Illinois is a leader in higher education and, with continued care and investment, we can keep it that way for generations to come."

"Community colleges can be a much-needed step for students before attending a four-year university," said State Senator Doris Turner, (D-Springfield). "Lincoln Land Community College is known for setting students up to succeed. Increasing investments in Illinois' community colleges is vital for students to engage in more workforce training and development programs, allowing them to get a good paying job in the future."

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