Illinois Public Universities Seek Additional Federal Support for COVID-19 Costs

U.S. CapitolPresidents of Illinois’ public universities sent the following letter to the state’s congressional delegation Friday, seeking additional relief from increasing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear Senator/Representative:

We write to reiterate the urgent need for federal assistance as our universities, and institutions across the country, prepare for fall semester.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant financial toll on Illinois’ public universities. As of July 3, we estimate the total economic impact of COVID-19 on our collective universities to be $393.5 million. This figure includes tuition and housing refunds as well as costs associated with extra support for students, purchases of hardware and software for online classes, and cleaning and medical supplies. Our universities will spend tens of millions more dollars as we commence fall operations.

The pandemic has also taken a heavy toll on students, particularly those who were already financially vulnerable. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted March 27, provided our 180,000+ students with approximately $68.5 million in emergency financial aid grants. We are grateful for that funding, but further support is needed to help ensure they can continue and complete their educations.

As we noted in our April 8 letter, we are committed to supporting the health and well-being of our students, employees and communities. As Congress continues to respond to the pandemic, additional federal relief is needed to help us meet this commitment. Specifically, we request:

We thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of Illinois.

Sincerely,

Chicago State University

President Zaldwaynaka Scott

Eastern Illinois University

President David M. Glassman

Governors State University

President Cheryl F. Green

Illinois State University

President Larry H. Dietz

Northeastern Illinois University

President Gloria J. Gibson

Northern Illinois University

President Lisa C. Freeman

Southern Illinois University System

President Daniel F. Mahony

University of Illinois System

President Timothy L. Killeen

Western Illinois University

Interim President Martin Abraham