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Illinois Risks Brain Drain as University Students Look Elsewhere

  • Public colleges have received no state funding this year
  • Universities face liquidity crunch as college decisions due

As a May 1 deadline looms for high school seniors deciding where to attend college, students are thinking twice about universities in Illinois, where the worst budget crisis in state history has halted funding for higher education.

Public colleges haven’t received state aid for the year that started July 1 as Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers fight over a spending plan. The strain has spurred colleges to furlough staff and cancel projects. State scholarships for low-income students haven’t been paid. High school counselors and some state schools say they’re hearing that more students are looking to private, community colleges or out-of-state options, because of the funding uncertainty.