villanueva 032323SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Celina Villanueva advanced legislation that prevents students from changing their legal guardianship in an effort to qualify for need-based financial aid for college.

“When it comes to furthering education with limited resources, students will go to extreme measures to ensure a brighter future for themselves,” said Villanueva (D-Chicago). “However, no one should ever be put in a position where they have to decide between changing their guardianship and receiving financial aid in order to go to college.”

Senate Bill 195 is a direct response to previous public reports that Illinois students became eligible for need-based education financial assistance through the practice of "opportunity hoarding." Opportunity hoarding is the practice of exploiting a loophole in the Probate Act by transferring legal guardianship from a parent to a relative or friend in lower income brackets or by declaring financial independence.

According to ProPublica Illinois, the cost of tuition, fees and housing for full-time students at public universities in Illinois has doubled within the past 15 years.

These expenses pose a significant barrier for low-income households who are already struggling with the expenses of everyday necessities versus the wealthy who try to exploit financial assistance not meant for them.

“Providing more equitable paths to obtaining a college degree is of utmost importance,” said Villanueva. “We must help all students succeed, regardless of financial background.” 

Senate Bill 195 passed the Senate and moves to the House for further consideration.