SPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state visited the state capitol building today to encourage legislators to fully fund the higher education and MAP Grant line items for the FY16 budget. Victoria Prince is a University of Illinois student from Chicago. As a MAP Grant recipient, she was one of the students on hand today at the capitol to explain her need for MAP grants.
“My freshman year I received almost $5,000 from the MAP Grant,” Prince said. “It really helped me afford school and I don’t think I would have selected to stay in state without it. I know a lot of stories about how tuition out of state is better just because they have more financial aid than Illinois is currently providing; so that’s why I think higher education is so important, to keep a lot of students in Illinois and keep up Illinois’ economy.”
State colleges and universities have been fronting the bill for MAP Grants for the first semester of the school year, but college and university presidents have advised the General Assembly that their facilities can no longer shoulder that burden as they move into the spring semester.
Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) was an early advocate for higher education funding in the spring.
“As the son of an immigrant, I understand first-hand how difficult it is to pay for higher education,” Mulroe said. “Unfortunately, times have changed and you simply cannot work and go to college anymore. These kids are working two to three jobs on top of the financial aid they receive. We can’t break our promise to them.”
The General Assembly passed HB 4146, but the measure was vetoed by the governor. A second funding measure, SB2043 remains in the House.
CHAMPAIGN- Illinois families worried about the financial security of loved ones living with disabilities will soon have another resource to promote their independence.
State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) and Treasurer Michael Frerichs joined area advocates to raise awareness of a new law that will create a tax-exempt plan to help individuals and families save money to cover expenses for people living with disabilities. Senate Bill 1383 creates the Illinois Achieving a Better Life Expectancy Act (ABLE Act), which creates accounts similar to tax-advantaged college saving plans where income earned in the account is not taxable.
Today the Senate passed Senate Bill 2046, which would give the governor authority to make payments to human service providers not already funded pursuant to court orders, distribute motor fuel tax proceeds to local governments and pay lottery winners.
For the past two days, Senator Daniel Biss (Chicago) led Senate hearings regarding delayed and missing state payments to social service groups who help the disabled and needy in Illinois live with dignity and get back on their feet.
Seniors struggling to stay in their homes and people with disabilities in need of vital care would still have access to services under a plan passed by the Senate today. Without today’s action, substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided care proposed by the governor would force tens of thousands of older adults and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into costly nursing home facilities.
“The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with his plan,” said State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston). “He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who often rely on minimal and inexpensive services to ensure their basic health and safety.”
Page 2 of 2