Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Students urge lawmakers to fix budget

They ditched the lecture halls and computer labs for a different classroom setting.

Hundreds of university students made their way to the Capitol to lobby for funding.

Students from the state's nine public universities showed up to demand action. Since the start of the semester, many students have been without MAP Grants. Tuesday, they pleaded for answers.

"Sixty to seventy students that are here from the campus." Mitch Dickey stepped out from his role in the student government to handle state government. "Students are known for exactly not engaging, not voting, not doing all these things. But, what we have here today, 250 students. That speaks volumes." 

For the first time in history, the state has failed to appropriate funds to the colleges. "Students are on the line right now. Time is of the essence. We're looking at 130,000 students across the state that receive MAP Grants." Now, students are relying on the universities to help pay for their educations, so they asked lawmakers what they're going to do.

"I really just want to get across to our legislators how important higher education is to us, to our community, to the people of Illinois." Senators stepped out from the session doors to meet with students like DeJa' Willingham, from UIS. She's worried about completing school. "We can post on Facebook and take pictures, but really, showing up shows we care and we're here."

This story appeared online on WCIA on October 20, 2015.

Watch the story here.