SPRINGFIELD-Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside and inside the Illinois capitol Wednesday as Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his budget address.
Many of the demonstrators called for restored funding for MAP grants and for passage of a state budget to fund colleges and universities. Among them were large groups of students and others from Chicago State University and Eastern Illinois University.
"I'm three months away from graduation, May 12, and that is providing the university stays open," said Taleatha Welk, a student at Chicago State. "That has a huge impact on my life, a huge impact on my children's lives. This is my first degree, my first bachelor's degree, and I'm so close."
Other students said that uncertainty about the future is common on their campuses.
"A lot of students are under stress and under strain," Joe Haynes, a sophomore at Harper College. "They've already started toward their educational future, and they're afraid that if they continue on another semester, that they might not have the funding they need to continue. That's a problem."
Others demonstrated for renewed spending on social services. Demonstrations included chanting, speeches and a "die-in" in which protesters laid on the capitol floor.