Comptroller says Illinois needs to find other higher education funding

By Katie O'Connell

Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes met with University administrators this morning to discuss higher education funding. University spokesman Tom Hardy said that the meeting was a “fact finding mission for higher education.”

According to a press release, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees passed a $4.1 billion preliminary budget for the 2009 fiscal year, including a 9.9 percent increase in tuition.

However, Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s suggested budget does not include an increase in funding for higher education.

“It’s making Illinois settle for mediocrity when we should be excelling,” Hynes said.

In a press conference following the meeting, Hynes said it is necessary to find other sources of revenue beside tuition for Illinois universities to use.

“How we do that, that’s the big question,” Hynes said.

Hardy agreed, saying that the University of Illinois’ leadership sympathizes with students and families who are struggling with increased tuition.

“We don’t like to rely on tuition as much as we have in the past couple of years,” Hardy said.

The legislature’s deadline for a new budget to be passed with a simple majority of Saturday, May 31.

For the full story about Comptroller Hynes’ visit to the University, check out tomorrow’s edition of The Daily Illini.