Sen. Michael Halpin

SPRINGFIELD – A new law spearheaded by State Senator Mike Halpin marks a significant milestone in the expansion of the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program.

“This will make it easier for students who live in Illinois to go to college in Illinois,” said Halpin (D-Rock Island). “We all want to keep more students in-state for college, and this new law will actually do something to help.”

Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, the Aspirational Institutional Match Helping Illinois Grow Higher Education (AIM HIGH) program has provided merit-based, means-tested financial aid to first-time, full-time undergraduate students and transfer students who are Illinois residents attending any of the 12 Illinois public four-year universities. AIM HIGH-participating universities are required to provide matching funding for institutional awards for students who meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as those established by each individual university.

Senator Halpin’s legislation implements several changes, including making the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program permanent, increasing transparency in the program to allow more students to take advantage, increasing access for part-time students and making changes to the matching requirements for the public universities.

“These changes will help middle-class families send their kids to college here in Illinois,” said Halpin.

"Western Illinois University is excited that the state continues to invest in higher education by making the AIM High grant permanent,” said Western Illinois University Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Doug Freed. “The grant has had a significant positive impact on Western students, and we hope for continued investment in supporting students financially so that they can continue their education."

House Bill 301 was signed into law on Friday and takes effect immediately.