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McGuire law to strenghten colleges includes four-year MAP grants, simplified credit transfers

mcguire 062918CREST HILL — Months of bipartisan cooperation and input from the state’s public universities came to fruition this morning as legislation enacting a plan put forth by the Higher Education Working Group became law.

State Senator Pat McGuire, D-Crest Hill, is Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and led the bipartisan, bicameral working group as it assessed the damage of the budget impasse and a decades-long trend of declining enrollment at Illinois colleges and universities. McGuire applauded the legislation that passed today, which included measures allowing students to extend their Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants to four years and giving students more options to transfer credits in order to obtain associate’s degrees.

“I commend my colleagues on the Higher Education Working Group, who joined me in acting without partisan rancor and coming to compromises that will bring stability, certainty, and accessibility to the students who can most benefit from a strong public community college and university system,” McGuire said.

Senate Bill 2354, sponsored by McGuire, instructs the Illinois Community College Board to develop a policy to allow students to “reverse transfer” credit from their four-year state school to their community college in order to obtain an associate’s degree. It also instructs state agencies to adopt a policy to award academic credit applicable toward an associate’s degree for certain military training. Lastly, it requires colleges to conduct a meeting with students who have 30 credit hours to counsel them on the school’s degree requirements.

“Navigating the degree requirements at college can be confusing and, for some students, costly,” McGuire said. “Allowing these new avenues to earning credit and obtaining associate’s degrees can make all the difference for people seeking an affordable college education.”

House Bill 5020, for which McGuire served as a chief co-sponsor in the Senate, ensures students who have already received MAP grants in previous years will be the first to receive them in subsequent years, making them a much more dependable source of funding for students who continue to qualify.

“Students who rely on MAP funding need assurances that they can afford to continue their education,” McGuire said. “By offering this assurance to students at state schools, we’re making our public institutions a more attractive option to students who are willing to put in the work to qualify.”

Signed by the governor at a ceremony at William Rainer Harper Community College this morning, the laws are effective immediately.

Sen. Pat McGuire

mcguire-2014-150

43rd District

Years served:
2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Higher Education (Chairperson); Revenue; State Government (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital.

Biography: Former teacher, school board member, Will County treasurer and Braidwood City Clerk; attended Joliet Catholic schools from first grade through college; married (Lora) with one daughter (Molly).

Associated Representatives:
John Connor
Lawrence Walsh, Jr.