SPRINGFIELD - State Senator Mike Porfirio has introduced Senate Bill 2422, aimed at increasing the eligibility requirements for the Illinois Veterans Grant Program.

The proposed legislation would revise the eligibility requirements for the grant program, allowing for a wider range of individuals to access it and receive educational assistance.  

"Illinois has a long and proud history of supporting our veterans and military personnel," said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township). “As a veteran myself, I am proud to be a voice for other veterans in our state.”

The expanded eligibility will incentivize those who left Illinois to serve their country to return to their home state while adding eligibility to those who come to Illinois to serve to stay here.

Under the current program guidelines, a person must be an Illinois resident within six months of entering federal active-duty service and must return within six months of leaving federal active-duty service. Porfirio’s measure would expand those times to 18 months.

"Active Duty personnel come to Illinois to serve at Scott Air Force Base, Naval Station Great Lakes, and Rock Island Arsenal along with multiple other recruiting, ROTC, or other commands,” said Porfirio, vice chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “If they end their service in Illinois, we should be trying to incentivize them to stay here and make Illinois their home.”

The legislation would also allow those who end their federal active-duty service in Illinois to be eligible to qualify for the program. 

"We need to continue to look for ways to grow our population, recruit individuals with critical skill sets, and give Illinois a competitive advantage,” said Porfirio. “This legislation achieves those objectives.”

Senate Bill 2422 awaits committee assignment in the Illinois State Senate.