With increased funding, virtually all community college students at or below the median income level can go to school in Illinois for free

BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker joined Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, stakeholders, and community leaders at Heartland Community College to highlight his proposed investments in higher education. The Governor’s FY24 budget calls for the largest increase for community colleges in over two decades and historic investments in financial aid, putting Illinois on track to guarantee every student has access to the education and training they need to thrive.


“Over the last four years, my administration has been laser focused on righting Illinois’ fiscal ship. Because of that work, our state can re-direct funding back into opportunity for Illinoisans, all while maintaining a balanced budget,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois is poised to make history: making it possible for every working-class resident to get the degree, training, and skills they need – tuition fee and fee free. With an additional $100 million directed to the MAP grant program, a student can pair our state support with a federal Pell grant and pay for college with no loans or debt required.”


“The future of higher education is bright in Illinois as we increase funding to community colleges and public universities by $100 million,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This historic investment is about valuing students, their potential, and giving them the tools they need to develop skills and grow intellectually here at home at the best learning institutions in the country.”


“Increased investments toward our universities give Illinoisans the opportunity to pursue their education here, making it possible for residents to receive their degree and find high paying jobs in central Illinois,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “By making college more affordable, Illinois is painting a brighter future for our future workforce.”


The proposed budget calls for an additional $100 million investment in Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grants, which provide assistance to eligible students demonstrating financial need and do not need to be repaid. This represents a 75% increase since the Governor took office, marking the highest level of MAP grants available in state history.


With this increase plus the additional availability of Pell Grants and scholarships, virtually all community college students at or below the median income level will have their tuition and fees fully covered. Beginning last year, every student eligible for a MAP Grant received one.


System funding for day-to-day operations at community colleges has increased by over $25 million since the start of the Pritzker administration, and the proposed budget will add nearly $20 million in additional funding. This represents a $45 million increase in direct funding for community colleges since the Governor took office. The FY24 budget also includes funding for several new initiatives including dual credit and non-credit workforce grant programs, advanced manufacturing and electric vehicle technologies workforce training programs, upgrades to Title II Adult Education programs, and an expansion of English language services.


Heartland Community College serves over 13,000 students. One out of every five students received a MAP Grant, and with the proposed investments, more students will be awarded that same funding.