FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2023
Contact: Emma Bittner
(972) 510-3395 | Emma.Bittner@younginvincibles.org
Illinois Approves a Strong Fiscal Year 2024 State Budget for Students and Advancing Workforce Programs
Despite Significant Wins for Young Adults, the Budget Fell Short in Economic Support for Young Workers
(Chicago, IL) – On Saturday, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget with several investments in post-secondary success, and critical investments in workforce training for young adults. Dedicated funding to mental health, higher education and workforce development provides necessary support for young adults to build their future.
Young Invincibles applauds the General Assembly for allocating an additional $100 million dedicated to MAP grant funding which ensures that everyone at or below the median income can go to community college for free. This additional funding will allow the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to continue offering grants to every eligible applicant — with an estimated 16 percent increase in the average grant size and an increase in the maximum grant of about 18 percent. Furthermore, the budget increases institutional funding for public universities and community colleges by seven percent, the highest increase in more than two decades. This funding is critical to affordable and accessible higher education for students. It’s imperative that new dollars follow public university students with the greatest academic and nonacademic needs.
Additionally, $12.6 million was appropriated to fund the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act. This funding is essential to increase mental health professionals on campus, and expand resources and necessary programming to best support students struggling with their mental wellbeing. This is a strong investment in Illinois public colleges and universities’ ability to address the surging student mental health crisis. YI has partnered with NAMI Chicago since 2019 on this funding priority.
The budget also set aside dedicated funding to expand workforce development and pre-apprenticeship programs to build a pipeline in the industries of the future. Thirteen million will be allocated to 30 recipients to expand the Illinois Works Pre-apprenticeship Program. The program will serve up to 1,400 pre-apprentices, a 40 percent increase from last year. Investing in our current and future workforce is essential to provide clear pathways for young adults, allowing them to build a future of financial security. However, the budget did not establish a state Child Tax Credit (CTC), which would have invested in low-income families and dramatically helped young working parents.
The FY24 budget makes progress towards Illinois’ ability to provide for young adults and is a baseline for how the state should continue to support young Illinoisans now and in the future.
In response, Lily Rocha, Midwest Regional Director at Young Invincibles said:
“Investing in young adults is essential for the future of Illinoisans. The budget made huge strides in making higher education affordable and accessible for young adults across the state; with the additional $100 million investment in MAP, Illinois students at or below the median income can now go to community college for free. While essential funding was secured, we look forward to the work of the Commission of Public University Funding to guide future budgeting with a transparent, fair, and equity-centered formula.
Furthermore, necessary workforce development pipelines were identified, yet the budget lacked provisions to create a state Child Tax Credit, which could have offered a lifeline to hundreds of young working families. It would have drastically helped young working parents, who oftentimes are struggling to make ends meet and are receiving less pay than older working parents. Since young parents are at the very beginning of their career, they are less likely to have access to medical or child care benefits that can help alleviate the cost of raising a child and are more likely to be working more than one job to offset this cost. The General Assembly missed the mark on protecting and elevating young workers through this critical tax reform.
We were thrilled to see funding for campus mental health services and supports. Although more and consistent funding is needed in the future, this appropriation represents a solid commitment from state legislators to invest in the success of our students and future workforce. Thank you to State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford, State Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, and State Senator Celina Villanueva for championing this work. Thank you to all our elected officials who stood as champions for Illinois’ young adults.
This budget creates a foundation for a more equitable Illinois and highlights holes in our current systems that need to be addressed.”
Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy and policy nonprofit organization focused on amplifying the voice of young people in the political process at the local, state, and federal levels. YI focuses on issues impacting young adults ages 18 to 34 in higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. Our offices include Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, and Texas. For more information, please contact Emma Bittner at (972) 510-3395 or email@example.com