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If you have graduated from an Illinois public community college or university and believe that the current budget impasse does not affect you, I urge you to think again: The impasse is affecting your degree.

Illinois public community colleges and universities have not received any state funding this year. This month, the Higher Learning Commission noted that, given the lack of funding, the accreditation of these colleges and universities — and, by association, their graduates — is at risk.

I urge you to do a quick search online for information about accreditation and what happens to schools and students when accreditation is lost.

Here's a brief synthesis of what can happen: The legitimacy of the degrees from these schools become questioned even if you graduated decades ago. You may also have to prove that the school was accredited when you graduated.

If you have never attended a public community college or university yet live in an area where these schools exist, then recognize that the budget impasse affects you, too.

If a school loses accreditation, students can no longer received federal financial aid. They will have a difficult time transferring unaccredited coursework to another school.

Should they be lucky enough to graduate, they will have to worry about employers questioning the legitimacy of their degrees. I am not sure why any student would attend such institutions.

And local students who desire a college degree would be best served by moving away.



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