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dorm 050421CHICAGO— Senator Elgie Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) passed legislation out of a Senate committee today to give community college boards of trustees and local housing authorities permission to develop affordable housing for community college students.

“This is about bettering the college experience for every student in this state,” said Sims. “Research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs. When students live on campus they are more plugged-in to the campus community and have more opportunities to join clubs, attend events and meet new people.”

Under current law, community colleges do not have the right to own student housing. In order for community schools to develop affordable housing for students, the process must be administered through a local Housing Authority or nonprofit organization.

Proponents of the bill also suggest that restricted housing on community college campuses fail to meet the needs of every student. Traditionally, community colleges catered to students living within a reasonable driving distance of the school. And while that arrangement works for some students, more students are facing a lengthy and costly commute that poses a challenging barrier to those living at a distance, including international students.

House Bill 374 passed out of the Senate Higher Education Committee and moves to the full Senate for consideration.