(The Center Square) – The state of Illinois continues to invest in colleges and universities in an effort to retain college-bound seniors.
Several major projects have been announced through the Rebuild Illinois capitol plan, including at Southern Illinois University, McHenry County College, and at Chicago State University.
On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited the College of Lake County, where a new student services building will be built.
“We watched as nearly half of our college-bound high school seniors left our state for better funded universities out of state,” Pritzker said. “We won’t let that happen any longer.”
The state is funding $35.3 million of the College of Lake County project with the remainder covered by local matching funds.
State Sen. Melinda Bush said the investment is key to Illinois’ future.
“Students, no matter whether they’re 21 or 61, are literally our future,” Bush said. “The education they receive, the connections they make, and the skills they learn allow them to become the best versions of themselves.”
Pritzker also released $142 million for technology centers on public university campuses around the state designed to promote tech innovation and job creation.
Several schools saw large declines in enrollment to start the current school year. Chicago State University saw freshman enrollment decline 30%, and the Illinois State University in Normal saw a 13% decline in new freshman.
Northern Illinois University saw its freshman class increase by about 150 students, increasing the overall enrollment for the first time in nearly 10 years. Southern Illinois, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois all saw small increases in freshmen classes.
The Rebuild Illinois capitol plan will invest $45 billion into universities, roads, bridges, railways and state facilities.