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Governor Pritzker highlights further higher education plans at SIUE

Written by on April 13, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – Governor Pritzker visited Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) on April 6 to continue to highlight his higher education plans.

In attendance of the event were the Chancellor of SIUE, James Miner, the Mayor of Edwardsville, Art Risavy, attended along with representatives of the State government. Representatives in attendance were Amy Alec from the 111 district, and Katie Stewart from the 112 District, along with Representative J. Hoffman from the 113 district.

On March 14 the Governor visited Heartland Community College, and highlighted his plan to make community college more affordable for Illinois residents. Now, several weeks later he is now highlighting his plan for the state’s four year colleges and universities. 

“You all have heard me say on a number of occasions SIUE endeavors to be first and best in class for providing affordable high quality degree opportunities for all students, regardless of their background, regardless of their family income,” said Chancellor Miner. “The transformative power of higher education is more important today than it has ever been, for keeping economic and social mobility alive, for strengthening our communities, and for reinforcing the very fabric of our democratic nation.”

Chancellor Miner touted the fact that the State of Illinois has been stepping up to help university students achieve their dreams and goals.  SIUE has just begun a $105 million project in constructing the Health Sciences Complex, with funding from the Governor.

“This last year, in Illinois, freshman enrollment went up five percent,” said Governor Pritzker. “That’s a big deal. That means Illinois is leading the nation. Here at SIUE. Freshman enrollment is up 12% over 2019 and advanced degree students are at the highest numbers in decades.” That is good news from the enrollment down 2.4% from the prior year across the nation.”

A student, Virgie Jones, from Cahokia Heights, was given the opportunity to share how scholarships and other types of support helps her succeed in the classroom and beyond.

“Coming from Cahokia Heights, which is a very thriving community, it was extremely difficult to find scholarships and grants to complete my further education,” said Jones. “Coming to SIUE was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Although SIUE is affordable, I would not have been able to attend without the map grant.”

The representatives also highlighted the effects the financial support and the effects of the school is having on the community, and also shared negative effects of not having state support. Katie Stewart, a former professor at SIUE, shared that the cuts happening at the university level were having a negative impact on education.

“I don’t know if many of you are aware, I was teaching classes in the math department, algebra, calculus, statistics, quantitative reasoning, you name it,” said Stewart. “I was getting messages week after week saying these cuts are coming. This cuts coming, cutting at the department level, cutting at the college level, and cutting at the university level. It was just cut, after cut, after cut. At the same time, I was seeing enrollment numbers in my classes go from 25 to 30 to 45 in rooms that were more tightly packed than some of those budget airlines that you might see.”