Sen. Mike Porfirio

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Porfirio helped spearhead a measure through the Senate making significant strides to expand the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program.

“Making the AIM HIGH program permanent will have profound impacts for our universities and residents,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township). “This program gives our residents more in-state opportunities to pursue higher education.”

The Aspirational Institutional Match Helping Illinois Grow Higher Education (AIM HIGH) has provided merit-based, means-tested student 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 since 2019.

House Bill 301 makes the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program permanent, increases transparency in the program to allow more students to take advantage of it, increases access for part-time students and makes changes to the matching requirements for the public universities.

The changes to the matching requirement for institutions is based on the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants. Institutions with at least 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 35% of the grant amount, up from the previous 20%. Similarly, institutions with less than 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 70% of the grant amount, compared to the previous 60%. These changes will ensure that the AIM HIGH Grant Program targets those most in need, further amplifying its impact.

“Students in Illinois need to have access to programs that make attending four-year universities in Illinois attainable,” said Porfirio. “This legislation expands access to higher education for Illinois residents by providing continuing, compelling financial aid options to keep students in Illinois.”

House Bill 301 passed the Senate on Wednesday.