A continued, year-long stalemate between Gov. Bruce Rauner and General Assembly Democrats over education funding is making college students second-guess attending in Illinois. While most universities, including Illinois State, will not give attendance projections, many of the ones that do have reported lower turnouts than usual. Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois, University of Illinois-Springfield and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville all say they have fewer applicants this year.
Eastern and Western Illinois have laid off employees while Chicago State University eliminated a third of their jobs and even cut their spring semester short. Throughout most of the 1990's, Illinois was the top performing state in helping its residents attain higher education through need-based grants and affordable tuition, according to a report by the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Research on Higher Education.