On Friday, April 22, 2016, a bill was passed in Springfield to fund higher education in Illinois. Kishwaukee College will receive approximately $1.1 million, which is about 21% of the $5 million of state aid the College anticipated receiving for the 2015-2016 school year. It is expected this money will be received by the College in early May.
Over the course of the 2015-16 school year, in the absence of state aid, the College implemented cost-saving measures, but also needed to use its reserve funds. Our FY16 budget was built with the assumption that we would receive the $5 million in state aid. It is anticipated that by June 30, 2016, the College will have used a projected $4.3 million of its reserve funds, with just $1.6 million remaining. The College has taken a number of steps to face the current state budget challenge, but there is still a continuing possibility of not having a state budget and we may again be put into a position of having to use reserve funds to cover shortfalls from the state. In an effort to be proactive and prepared for this possibility, a majority of the current anticipated payment from the State ($1.1 million) will go directly into the reserve fund to bring the balance back up.
A small portion of the funds the College is receiving in May are being considered for two areas of the College that provide essential community outreach: Adult Education & Transition Programs (AETP) and Business Development. Kishwaukee College is the sole provider of Adult Basic Education in the area and, due to the lack of state funding, no new students have been enrolled into programs in 2016, creating a waitlist of over 100 individuals. By providing financial support to AETP, we will be able to increase our course offerings in areas such as high school equivalency, English as a Second Language, and integrated education pathways. Resources for Business Development will be focused on working with our local business and economic development partners to develop workforce and customized training programs, to ensure that the College is doing its part to continue to support and grow our local economy.
The bill that passed on April 22, 2016 also allocated money for the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP). The College will receive the funds, and they will be directly distributed to eligible students. It is not known at this time exactly when those funds will be received.
While the current released funds are not a long-term solution to the budget crisis, we appreciate the cooperative and collaborative work of the General Assembly and Governor to provide financial resources to Kishwaukee College, our students, and our higher education colleagues. We also sincerely hope that our Legislators and Governor will build on the passage of this bill to continue to work together to provide a long-term budget solution for our state.
Kishwaukee College will continue to offer quality education as we face the current budget challenges. By listening to both our students and constituents, we continue to explore ways to increase efficiency. We will be hosting town hall listening sessions in the near future to gather community input. Please watch for future announcements.
As a I finish up my first semester at Kishwaukee College, I continue to be amazed by the dedicated group of educators and professionals who work tirelessly, and have gone above and beyond for the success of our students. I am proud to work alongside them and look forward to continuing to build on the long and successful history of the College.
Laurie Borowicz, Ed.D