Tuition these days is so ridiculously sky-high, I don’t think I could be able to afford it.
AND THAT’S TAKING into account that I was willing to take on some debt in the form of student loans that put me through college – and took me some six years to pay off. Nowadays, those loans would be so costly that I don’t think I’d ever be able to pay them off.
But the more serious problem these days is the fact that the political gamesmanship taking place these days between Gov. Bruce Rauner on behalf of Republicans and the Democratic legislative caucus led by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is interfering with the education process.
For the budgets of the state’s publicly-funded colleges are NOT among the state agencies and programs whose activities must continue even though the state is now in month eight of the fiscal year without a balanced budget in place.
There also are the private colleges being impacted, since many of their students rely on financial aid to meet those costly tuition payments and those are government programs that provide the aid.
THE COLLEGES WENT forth with this academic year back in September making the best of the bad situation, while also hoping that the political people would come to their senses within a month or two.
Instead, the political people seem determined to hold out. They’re not going to concede a thing. They’re willing to make Fiscal ’16 the year that no budget was ever approved – and show no willingness to make Fiscal ’17, ’18 or ’19 any different.
The situation at Chicago State University, which admittedly always faces slightly more dire circumstances that most other colleges, is actually talking about having to shut down.
Other colleges might have to do mid-year layoffs that would affect their academic departments. Now we see why the one thing Rauner did was to approve the portion of the state budget for elementary education – just think how ugly it would be if all schools across Illinois were threatened with closure?
COLLEGE KIDS IN Illinois these days literally face the possibility of having their studies interrupted because of the politicking going on. Considering that these young people are supposed to be our future that relies heavily on the success of their academic efforts, what kind of long-term damage is being caused?
Those Chicago State students literally were picketing in the streets of downtown on Monday – figuring they’d get more public attention there than they would down at 95th Street and King Drive.
Although I also noticed reports about a student rally held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, where the local Republican state legislators it seems were upset they were not permitted to speak during the event.
Organizers said the rally was meant to be a student forum, not for the general public. Although you have to admit, it would have been interesting to hear those legislators try to justify themselves and their support for Rauner’s political actions.
IT ALSO WOULD have been downright ridiculous if one of those legislators had managed to make a verbal gaffe that would have had statewide repercussions. Which, considering the ineloquence of many political people, was too likely to happen.
Those legislators were saved from themselves; they committed the primary rule of public speaking – they avoided saying something stupid!
This uncertainty is headache-inducing for all. But particularly those students who perceive their education beyond the upcoming weekend’s kegger.
Because what happens to all our society if it turns out years from now that the young people who spent their late-teenage years inhaling bongs accomplished more than those whose efforts at self-improvement were thwarted because Rauner wants to undermine organized labor’s influence within government?