WTVO/WQRF — There is no doubt that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget, as proposed in the ‘State of the Budget’ address, creates few winners and lots of losers.

And while K-12 education may be a nominal winner, with the Governor proposing more funding for early childhood education as well as $300 million more in state support for K-12 schools, it comes at the expense of higher education, where his budget would cut $385 million … essentially a cost-shift.

At the University of Illinois alone, the Governor’s proposed budget would cut state funding by 31.5%, or nearly $209 million according to University President Robert Easter.  He said in a statement, “A budget cut of that magnitude would substantially harm our students and the people of Illinois by most severely impacting the University’s core education and research missions.”  Easter says the university currently has an annual operating budget of $5.6 billion.

Of course, those cuts would impact all public universities, not just the U. of I., and the prospects of such large cuts raises fears of higher costs and more borrowing for lower and middle income students to attend college.

“Cutting higher education funding by 31% will hurt Illinois students who are already having trouble affording a quality education,” said College Democrats of Illinois President Brexton Isaacs in a news release. “It’s clear that Governor Rauner doesn’t understand the implications that a $387 million cut will have on our colleges, universities, and families across Illinois. By attempting to balance the budget on the backs of hard working students who are trying to obtain an education and get ahead, Rauner is only hurting our state even more. This is a short-term solution that will only cause long-term problems.”