State Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Crest Hill (left), met with Bořek Lizec, Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Chicago (right) on Feb. 27, 2018 at the Capitol in Springfield, IL.SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire welcomed Bořek Lizec, Consulate General of the Czech Republic, to Springfield Feb. 27. McGuire and Lizec had met before at a Crest Hill event commemorating the 1942 Lidice massacre.

As news of the town’s destruction at the hands of Nazi Germany horrified the world in 1942, a Crest Hill subdivision and memorial park were named for the town of Lidice in what is now the Czech Republic.

Category: News Releases
05032017CM1018Reacting to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State address today, State Senator and Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire said any mention of the challenges facing Illinois colleges was conspicuously absent.
“It was a one-percenter’s view of higher education,” McGuire said of the speech. “The governor mentioned one state university – the University of Illinois. He ignored 80 percent of the students attending college in Illinois. He mentioned MIT, Harvard and Stanford. I’m really disappointed that the governor continues to be fixated on highly selective institutions at the expense of Illinois’ community colleges and regional public universities.”
Also missing from the speech was a clear pledge for stability and certainty for Illinois public universities and community colleges, McGuire said.
“There’s a bipartisan, bicameral higher education working group of which I am a member. What we’re hearing from our public universities is that a reason for the exodus of students out of state is uncertainty: Uncertainty if programs will continue, uncertainty if campuses will be modernized, uncertainty if MAP grants will be funded. The Governor needs to make clear that he will invest in our entire higher education system."
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05032017CM1018In light of an approved state budget that includes funding for state universities and Monetary Award Grants for college students, S&P Global Ratings announced it has upgraded the bond ratings of four Illinois universities and has taken three other universities off of its watch list for a potential downgrade.
Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire said it’s the first sign of the road to fiscal recovery that universities face in the wake of a 736-day budget impasse that saw layoffs, program closures and students worrying over whether the financial aid the state had promised them would ever be paid.
“Wall Street isn’t easy to please,” said McGuire, D-Joliet. “This vote of confidence shows that Democratic and Republican legislators did the right thing by passing a bipartisan, balanced state budget.
“Now we need to regain the confidence of Illinois college-bound students and their families. That requires Gov. Rauner to wise up and realize that the stronger Illinois higher ed becomes, the stronger Illinois’ economy and quality of life becomes. Let’s hope the governor’s two-year fit of starving our colleges and universities is over.”
Southern Illinois University and Governors State University had their ratings lifted one level to BB+, while Northeastern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University were upgraded one level to B+. Those four schools, as well as the A- rated University of Illinois and Illinois State University, were moved from “negative” to “stable” outlooks, indicating they are not at risk of being downgraded. Western Illinois University, rated at BB-, had its outlook raised to “positive” from “negative.”
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After a harmful lapse in payments due to a two-year budget impasse, state funds will again be disbursed to Illinois colleges and universities and their neediest students, a move praised by State Senator and Senate Higher Education Committee Chairman Pat McGuire today.
“Bravo to Comptroller Susana Mendoza for releasing $523 million to Illinois colleges and universities, including community colleges, for operating funds and Monetary Award Program financial aid,” McGuire said. “The 736 days Illinois was without a budget threatened to inflict damage to Illinois higher education which would take years to repair. Especially troubling was Governor Rauner’s refusal to even consider making good on MAP grants for the last fiscal year until he got what he wanted in the new fiscal year’s budget.
“Thankfully, the bipartisan passage of a balanced budget which backfills Fiscal Year 2017 and provides a full year of funding Fiscal Year 2018, combined with Comptroller Mendoza’s prompt and compassionate action, enables Illinois students and institutions of higher learning to get their futures back on track.”
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