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January 8, 2021

 

 
 
 
 

According to a Gallup poll, about half of Americans (48%) at the end of 2020 said that, if able to live anywhere they wished, they would choose a town (17%) or rural area (31%) rather than a city or suburb. This is a shift from 2018, when 39% thought a town or rural area would be ideal. Current attitudes are similar to those recorded in October 2001, the only other time Gallup has asked Americans this question. That reading, like today's but unlike the 2018 one, was taken during a time of great national upheaval -- shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the public was still on edge about the potential for more terrorism occurring in densely populated areas. The detailed responses show that both sentiments -- those preferring town or rural living -- are up from what they were two years ago, while those preferring to live in the suburb of a big city are down. Meanwhile, there has been no meaningful change in preferences for living in a small city or the suburb of a small city.

 

 
 
 
 

Since 1983, the Governor’s Hometown Award​s (GHTA) program gives formal recognition to those who contributed to projects that improved their community’s quality of life. These projects are sponsored by local units of government that had strong volunteer support, met a need, and made a definitive impact, thereby generating a positive outcome in the community and by extension, the state. The program is administered by the Serve Illinois ​Commission, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. Serve Illinois, the Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, is excited to be able to tie GHTA to its mission to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State. Nominate your community here. Applications are due February 19, 2021.

 

 
 
 
 

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is adding new initiatives to its college outreach programs. “With many students and families facing illness and loss of loved ones, financial distress, and all the challenges of remote learning, it can be hard to handle the now, much less consider the future,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of ISAC. “But as we look to better days ahead for next fall, we want to make sure our high school seniors and adult students have applied for and can receive the financial aid for which they are eligible. Knowing what funding you have available for postsecondary education is an important milestone in making that education happen.” Ensuring that students have this important information drove passage of the state’s FAFSA Mandate. This new law, which took effect with the 2020-2021 school year, requires public high school seniors to complete the FAFSA or, if eligible, the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma. (A waiver provision allows a parent, guardian, or the student – if 18 or emancipated – to opt out of the requirement.) Information about FAFSA Mandate training and support for school counselors and other professionals is available at https://www.isac.org/pd/fafsa-mandate.html. Making completion of a financial aid application part of an expectation for high school graduation can increase the number of students who are aware of the resources available to help them afford education or training after high school. This information can also help some students decide to attempt college when they might not otherwise have done so, and it may help some students limit student loan debt and take a fuller course load to more quickly complete a degree or credential.

 

 
 
 
 

University of Illinois Extension will host two more Community Broadband Grant Sessions, today (January 8) at Noon CT, and Thursday, January 14, at Noon CT. Matt Schmit, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband, will hold one more Connect Illinois Infrastructure Grant Round 2 Applicant Forum (see Notice of Funding Opportunity here). Next week, he will report on the Illinois Connected Communities Grant Round 1. This session will cover updates on this program, and remind all that the Round 2 deadline is January 25. REGISTER HERE for these upcoming sessions. For past broadband grant sessions, see https://extension.illinois.edu/global/community-broadband-development-programming. For upcoming local government education webinars in January, such as the Rural Partners Telehealth Webinar series or the State and Federal Legislative Updates, see our homepage and full lineup at https://go.illinois.edu/LGE.

 
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

January 8 - Connect Illinois Infrastructure Grant Round 2 Applicant Forum

January 12 - State of Illinois: Legislative Update

January 14 - Illinois Connected Communities Grant Round 1 Report Out 

January 21 - Rural Partners Telehealth Series (Part 1): Remarks and Presentation

January 27 - National Association of Counties' Federal Legislative Update

February 12 - Rural Partners Telehealth Series (Part 2): The COVID-19 Telehealth Sea Change and New Opportunities

February 17 - Rural Partners Telehealth Series (Part 3): The Value of Telehealth to Rural Economies

February 19 - Governor's Hometwon Award Application Due Date

 
 
 
 
 

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