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College

  • A second chance for students … Senate to deliver MAP plan to Gov. Rauner

    map grant mrSPRINGFIELD --Today, the Illinois Senate will deliverSenate Bill 2043 to the governor’s office. A news conference regarding the delivery of the legislation is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Capitol media briefing room.

    That legislation provides the governor with the spending authority needed to honor his administration’s commitment to students regarding the Monetary Award Program (MAP) financial aid grants.

    Even as the Senate was giving final approval to SB 2043 on Jan. 28,  Gov. Bruce Rauner threatened to veto the legislation just as he had in June. In response, Senate President JohnCullerton announced the Senate would hold the legislation for a couple weeks in the hope the governor would reconsider.

  • Bennett advances plan to invest in Illinois families

    mapgrant moneySPRINGFIELD- As college students begin to head back to campus, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) passed legislation to fund state college assistance grants.

    Under Senate Bill 2043, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants will continue to make college an option for students across Illinois.  This state assistance provides need-based aid to help pay for tuition and fee costs to help eliminate excessive college loan debt.

    “Illinois students shouldn’t be discouraged from attending one of our public universities or community colleges due to financial need,” Bennett said. “The legislation we passed today will help more students obtain a college education without further jeopardizing their financial health.  

    The Illinois Student Assistance Commission estimates that under Senate Bill 2043, that 125,000 to 130,000 eligible students will be approved for MAP grant assistance.  

    “We need an educated workforce to continue to grow our economy,” said Bennett. “The investments we make in education will provide Illinois with a well-trained and competitive workforce.”

    Last year, 6,697 students, approximately 25 percent of undergraduates at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana received MAP grant assistance.

    Senate Bill 2043 passed the Senate 37-0-14 and now moves to the House for consideration.

  • Bertino-Tarrant legislation would extend employer tax credit that helps students afford college

    BertinoTarrant05192016SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that would keep tax credits in place for employers contributing to their employees’ college accounts has been introduced by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    The tax credit is set to expire in 2020, but Bertino-Tarrant’s plan would extend it to 2025. The senator’s legislation also increases the tax credit amount an employer would be eligible for by $500.

    “This tax credit is an important tool for incentivizing employers to help their employees pay for college,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I am proud to be working with the Illinois Treasurer’s Office to sponsor legislation that would benefit both workers and businesses.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s legislation making college more affordable for veterans becomes law

    Bertino-Tarrant's legislation making college more affordable for veterans becomes law

    SPRINGFIELD - A new law was signed today that will allow veterans attending Illinois colleges and universities to qualify for instate tuition rates.

    “Those who serve our nation deserve our utmost respect,” said Bertino-Tarrant, Senate sponsor of HB3692. “This law will make college more affordable for student veterans who have made significant contributions to our nation.”

    The law applies to veterans attending college through the Pre-9/11 G.I. Bill. Last year, Illinois allowed veterans using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to qualify for in-state tuition. Bertino-Tarrant simply wanted to make sure all veterans utilizing a G.I. Bill program would qualify for in-state tuition.

  • College students descend on Capitol (VIDEO)

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  • Community College Reform measure signed, Cullerton says there is still work to do

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  • CSU fighting for the future

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    More than 800 Chicago State University students received their diplomas Thursday in an early ceremony moved up weeks for fear the school would run out of money and shut down due to an ongoing state budget impasse.

    A last-minute, $600-million higher education deal will, for now, keep the doors open at Chicago State, Eastern Illinois University and other state schools. But the stop gap plan isn’t enough to offset the long-term damage that’s been done as the schools have gone nearly a year without any state support. Layoffs and program cuts are still expected at Chicago State and other schools.

    Senator Emil Jones III was at Thursday’s graduation ceremonies – the 358th commencement for the nearly 150-year-old university. As happy as he is for the CSU graduates, he’s equally concerned for the underclassmen who increasingly are victimized by the budget showdown that began when Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected the entire higher education budget last year.

  • Cullerton provides cooling-off period for Rauner to rethink student aid veto

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  • Cunningham, subcommittee to investigate campus executive compensation (AUDIO)

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  • Harris introduces Campus Demonstration Act

    harris campus demonstr introSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Napoleon Harris III (D-Harvey) introduced legislation that protects college students’ freedom of speech and would prohibit colleges from revoking athletic and academic scholarships as a result of protesting.

    Senate Bill 2279 came about after Republican lawmakers in Missouri filed legislation intended to punish African American football players who demanded the resignation of the head of the university after inaction against racism on campus.

    “Universities should remain strongholds for progress and freedom of speech,” said Harris, a former Northwestern University football player. “Students shouldn’t be treated like property for earning scholarships. I want to make sure it’s clear that students’ rights are a high priority in Illinois.”

    Harris noted that many students on athletic and academic scholarships come from low-income backgrounds and depend on their scholarships as their only means to a college education.

    “Legislation like what was introduced in Missouri is unconstitutional,” Harris said. “All students have the right to have their voices heard and no administration should be given the authority to silence them. I want to shut this down before anyone gets any dumb ideas here.”

  • Hastings shares students' concern over cuts to universities

    hutch hastings govstateTINLEY PARK- As lawmakers returned to Springfield for Tuesday’s session, so did bus loads of college students. They came to the capital to discuss their concerns over the cuts to higher education that the governor has proposed. The dramatic cuts to state universities and MAP grants could cause tuition rates and class sizes to rise, as well as force colleges to cut staff and administrative positions.  

    State Senator Michael Hastings (D-Tinley Park) had the opportunity to speak with students from Governor’s State University, located near the 19th district.

    “Governor’s State is an incredible university that prides itself on offering affordable tuition. If these cuts are implemented that would severely limit their ability to continue offering it,” Hastings said. “Cutting funding to universities would absolutely devastate the higher education system in Illinois.”

    This year, Senator Hastings and his colleagues voted multiple times to fund Illinois universities and MAP grants, but all of these measures failed to be signed into law.

  • Higher Ed funding is investment in middle-class families

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    As Illinois students begin preparing for mid-terms, Chairman Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) assembled the Senate’s Higher Education Committee at Joliet Junior College to hear from students, parents and state community colleges and universities on the impact the current budget impasse is having on higher education in Illinois.

    “Time's a'wastin' - first semester already has started. Governor Rauner, get on board,” McGuire said. “Support MAP and higher education funding so Illinois high school graduates and returning adults can earn the knowledge and skills needed in today's economy to make our state strong again.”

  • Hunter's timely fair helps first-generation college students (VIDEO)

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  • Hutchinson law aims to protect college students from sexual assault

    hutchinson evictSPRINGFIELD – With studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law today that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

    “College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

    While there have been efforts at the federal level to deal with the issue of sexual violence on campuses, universities have been left with a patchwork of recommendations and proposals without clear guidance on how they can reduce the incidence of violence on their campuses and effectively deal with the aftermath of sexual assaults.

    Acknowledging this reality, Senator Hutchinson teamed with Attorney General Lisa Madigan to ensure colleges develop clear, comprehensive campus plans for dealing with sexual violence. Each plan will ensure victims have help immediately after an attack, including confidential advisers who can guide them to medical and legal resources. These advisers must also focus on often-overlooked issues, such as orders of protection and situations where housing and class schedules need to be changed.  

    House Bill 821 was signed into law today by the governor and takes effect immediately.

  • Kids, cocktails, corn: new laws, Fall 2015 edition

    new laws 0915With this year’s main session of the General Assembly over, Illinois has several new laws that could make a significant impact on your daily life.

    If you have kids, enjoy after-work cocktails or are a veteran, you should definitely check out our list of the most important and interesting new laws that took effect this summer.

  • MAP grants, community colleges funding head to governor (AUDIO)

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  • Martinez proposal will encourage more U of I students to run for student trustee position

    martienz youthemplSPRINGFIELD — An undocumented University of Illinois student was recently prevented from running for the position of student trustee because he was unable to show that he was a registered voter in Illinois.

    This occurred despite the fact that he was enrolled in the university and an Illinois resident.

    “We need to be sure students aren’t discouraged from running to be a student trustee,” said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez. “A student who can prove they live in Illinois and wants to serve their fellow students and university should not be held back by requirements that are too rigid.”

    The University of Illinois Trustee Act requires students to be residents of Illinois in order to be selected as a student trustee.

    Residency is demonstrated by three factors:

    •    Evidence of the student’s residence in Illinois for at least the previous six months
    •    A valid Illinois driver’s license
    •    Being registered to vote in Illinois

    However, under Martinez’s proposal, Senate Bill 2204, which she passed out of the Higher Education Committee today, a student would only have to meet one of the three factors to demonstrate Illinois residency.

    “My proposal is a common sense solution that will help encourage more diverse representation on the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees,” Martinez said.

    The University of Illinois is a supporter of the initiative and will be working with Martinez to get it passed this session.

  • McGuire works to unblock college financial aid

    032114 js 0204CL rA measure to immediately release $168 million to benefit thousands of college students in Illinois has been filed in the Illinois State Senate.

    State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and the sponsor of Senate Bill 2226, which would cover the costs that colleges and universities around the state absorbed last fall fronting Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants that their students depend on.

    “Illinois needs to invest in the higher education of its residents in order to get back to full strength,” McGuire said. “Failing to provide the financial aid for which 130,000 students qualified threatens those students, the schools they attend, and the future of our state.

    Twice in 2015, the Illinois Senate passed legislation to fund MAP:

    • House Bill 4146 was passed in May. It increased MAP funding but was vetoed by the governor.
    • In August, the Senate returned to Springfield to pass SB 2043, which appropriated the governor’s original request. That legislation remains pending in the Illinois House.

    During the fall semester, colleges and universities around the state took on the cost of the absent MAP grants. However, dozens of schools recently said they can’t do the same for the current spring semester.

    “MAP isn’t about athletics, new buildings, faculty positions, or administrators’ pensions,” McGuire said. “MAP is about the opportunity to learn. It’s about students who want to do more in life for themselves and their state.”

    SB 2226 will be in committee for debate soon and goes into effect immediately on passage.

  • New law aims to protect college students from sexual assault

    New law aims to protect college students from sexual assaultWith studies showing an alarming one-in-five undergraduate college women becoming victims of rape or attempted rape, a measure was signed into law recently that will prevent and ensure proper response to sexual assaults that occur on college campuses.

    “College represents new experiences and new beginnings for thousands of young women and men each year,” sponsor Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “With thousands of college students heading to school, many of them for the first time, we are reminded of the importance in both preventing sexual assaults and responding with every single resource at our disposal when they do occur. Sexual assault cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

  • Sen. Murphy joins students to deliver MAP grant funding bill to governor

    021616CM0215SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 100 students from Illinois colleges joined State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) and other legislators today to deliver Senate Bill 2043 to Governor Rauner. The legislation, which recently passed the Senate and House with large majorities, provides funding for Monetary Award Program grants, or MAP grants. 

    “Today, I stand with over 1,900 students in the28th district who have so far been abandoned this year because of the lack of funding for MAP grants,” said Murphy. “Eliminating these funds is short-sighted and will have a long term impact on our state economy.”

    The grants are given to low and middle-income students to allow them to pay for the growing cost of higher education. Due to a veto last spring by Governor Rauner, nearly 120,000 students face uncertainty about their future.

    While many colleges and four-year universities have been able to continue to provide funding for students during the fall semester, nearly 1,000 students were unable to return to school this year as many schools ran out of funds.

    Previously, the governor had committed to vetoing the funds for the students. However, the governor and his staff did not comment on the bill when it was delivered.

    “The governor has already shown a commitment to funding education. I strongly encourage him to continue to invest in our future workforce by funding MAP grants,” said Murphy.