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February 15, 2006


SPRINGFIELD – Leaders of the Illinois Board of Higher Education praised the fiscal 2007 budget announced today by Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Statement by Chairman James L. Kaplan:

“We applaud Governor Blagojevich for his budget message and for his proposed spending plan for colleges and universities. The Governor’s budget actually exceeds the budget recommendations approved by the Board of Higher Education last week, and addresses the most critical needs of students, faculty, and families.

“The budget proposed by Governor Blagojevich makes college affordability a top priority through increases slated for the need-based Monetary Award Program, additional funds for the Illinois Incentive for Access program, and the tuition tax credit. It also allocates needed funds for salary competitiveness for faculty and staff. In addition, the budget calls for $3 million for the Student Success Grant at community colleges, restoring vital special services for students who enter college with educational disadvantages. Budget increases aimed at alleviating the statewide nursing shortage and promoting training and retention of forensic scientists are welcome initiatives targeted toward vital state needs.

“The higher education community is grateful to Governor Blagojevich for this far-sighted budget proposal, and pledges its support for passage in the General Assembly.”

Statement by Executive Director Judy Erwin:

“Governor Blagojevich has proposed a budget that is innovative in addressing both ongoing and emerging higher education needs for the citizens of Illinois. The budget provides support for the high priorities of the Board of Higher Education as well as colleges and universities throughout the state, including affordability, competitiveness, student access and success, and increased efficiency. It is appropriate to examine the possible sale of the loan assets and transaction services of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, as other states have done, and the pledges contained in the budget to maintain employment and student services after any such sale are reassuring. The higher education community is grateful to Governor Blagojevich for his support of higher education in the fiscal 2007 budget.”


Don Sevener



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