News Local/State

Community Colleges Get Emergency Aid, But Only A Few

A piggy bank lying on its side.

This is the last of emergency funds for Illinois community colleges. Credit Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The state’s ongoing budget impasse has hit community colleges particularly hard, with funds to these schools and the students who attend them drastically reduced. The Illinois Community College Board is distributing $3 million in emergency aid, divided among seven campuses.  Lakeland Community College in Mattoon is on the list.

They do not include Parkland College in Champaign, Danville Area Community College, or Richland Community College in Decatur. 

Community colleges have three main sources of funding: Local property taxes, state government, and student tuition. That means some campuses rely on the state for up to 45 percent of their budgets. That reliance was a major factor in how the board doled out that $3 million equally among schools in Olney, Centralia, Mattoon, Carterville, Ina, Ullin, and Harrisburg.

So is there anything left in the state’s community college piggy bank?

“There’s not," says Matt Berry, spokesman for the board. "This was the last amount of money that was left to be allocated. And this only went to seven schools so the rest of the districts won’t be receiving any money until there’s a state appropriation.”

That leaves out more than 40 schools.

Illinois has the third-largest community college system in the nation, serving nearly 850,000 residents per year.