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MC gets share of $3.1 million in Illinois capital funds

07/30/2013
Monmouth College President Mauri Ditzler (right) thanks Gov. Quinn for his support of capital funding to higher education at Monday’s announcement ceremony in Rock Island.
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ROCK ISLAND – Monmouth College is one of three western Illinois liberal arts institutions that will share in $3.1 million in state grants, Gov. Pat Quinn announced Monday.

The grants, which will also go to Augustana and Knox Colleges, are part of $90 million set aside this fiscal year in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program to address the critical needs of the state’s private colleges and universities. The announcement was part of Gov. Quinn’s agenda to improve higher education in Illinois while creating thousands of construction jobs.

Monmouth’s share, which totals nearly $930,000, represents the third installment of a $3.1 million grant announced in 2009 to assist with several campus building projects.

 “Monmouth College has recently invested more than $40 million in infrastructure projects designed to enhance its academic and student life programs,” Monmouth President Mauri Ditzler said. “The Illinois Jobs Now! grant has been a boon not only to the college but will create many jobs for a number of construction companies and suppliers in the area.”

Speaking at the announcement ceremony at Augustana College, President Ditzler said that the investment in jobs and education provided by the capital bill is a worthwhile use of the hard-earned resources of the people of Illinois. “Investment of state funds in private organizations can leverage significant gifts, which pay off many times over in new construction jobs and the purchase of materials from Illinois suppliers,” he said. “Ultimately, the investment leads to a better educational experience for students from Monmouth and other private Illinois colleges.”

Monmouth College projects assisted by the capital funding have included construction of a new Greek life residence hall, the installation of a chiller plant and cooling tower, construction of a new parking lot and replacement of windows in an older residence hall. The momentum created by the grant, Ditzler said, was also instrumental in helping Monmouth complete its most ambitious construction project ever, the Center for Science and Business.

“All of the recent construction projects have contributed to Monmouth recruiting what we expect will be our largest entering class ever this fall,” Ditzler said. “That, in turn, will provide a stimulus for the local economy.”

Ditzler concluded his remarks by thanking State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) for his continuing support of higher education in Illinois. “Not only did Sen. Sullivan work hard to insure Monmouth College was included in the capital project appropriations,” he said, “but he has also been a champion for preserving MAP grant funding, which is critical to providing access to higher education for most Illinoisans.”

So far under the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, private colleges and universities have received $200 million to address their capital needs.

Funding for the higher education portion of the six-year $31 billion capital program is separate from the general revenue fund. Financed by 20-year bonds supported by the closing of loopholes in existing programs, video gaming terminals, motor vehicle fees and sales taxes on candy, beverages and grooming products, the program is administered by the Independent Colleges Capital Program (ICCAP). It uses a distribution formula based entirely on fall 2008 student enrollment numbers. Grant funds are distributed as proceeds of Build Illinois bond sales become available to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

The Illinois Jobs Now! program is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest such programs in the nation. It is expected to support more than 439,000 jobs over six years.