• McGuire law to strenghten colleges includes four-year MAP grants, simplified credit transfers

    mcguire 062918CREST HILL — Months of bipartisan cooperation and input from the state’s public universities came to fruition this morning as legislation enacting a plan put forth by the Higher Education Working Group became law.

    State Senator Pat McGuire, D-Crest Hill, is Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee and led the bipartisan, bicameral working group as it assessed the damage of the budget impasse and a decades-long trend of declining enrollment at Illinois colleges and universities. McGuire applauded the legislation that passed today, which included measures allowing students to extend their Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants to four years and giving students more options to transfer credits in order to obtain associate’s degrees.

    “I commend my colleagues on the Higher Education Working Group, who joined me in acting without partisan rancor and coming to compromises that will bring stability, certainty, and accessibility to the students who can most benefit from a strong public community college and university system,” McGuire said.

    Senate Bill 2354, sponsored by McGuire, instructs the Illinois Community College Board to develop a policy to allow students to “reverse transfer” credit from their four-year state school to their community college in order to obtain an associate’s degree. It also instructs state agencies to adopt a policy to award academic credit applicable toward an associate’s degree for certain military training. Lastly, it requires colleges to conduct a meeting with students who have 30 credit hours to counsel them on the school’s degree requirements.

    “Navigating the degree requirements at college can be confusing and, for some students, costly,” McGuire said. “Allowing these new avenues to earning credit and obtaining associate’s degrees can make all the difference for people seeking an affordable college education.”

    House Bill 5020, for which McGuire served as a chief co-sponsor in the Senate, ensures students who have already received MAP grants in previous years will be the first to receive them in subsequent years, making them a much more dependable source of funding for students who continue to qualify.

    “Students who rely on MAP funding need assurances that they can afford to continue their education,” McGuire said. “By offering this assurance to students at state schools, we’re making our public institutions a more attractive option to students who are willing to put in the work to qualify.”

    Signed by the governor at a ceremony at William Rainer Harper Community College this morning, the laws are effective immediately.

  • McGuire unveils bipartisan plan to make college “more certain and more affordable”

    Sen. Pat McGuire

    SPRINGFIELD — The bicameral, bipartisan Higher Education Working Group chaired by State Senator Pat McGuire today announced a series of measures to help Illinois residents afford college and attain degrees.

    Two financial aid proposals highlight the package. House Bill 5020 will help students access four years of Monetary Award Program grants, giving students and their families assurance that a MAP grant won’t be “one and done.” Senate Bill 2927 incentivizes Illinois’ public universities to provide more scholarships using Institutional Matching, a new $25 million state fund. These scholarships will be available to families with annual incomes of up to $150,000 for a family of four.

    Other proposals developed by the six Democrats and six Republicans comprising the working group assist students transferring from community colleges to public universities and provide regulatory relief to Illinois’s 12 public university campuses.

    “This legislative package shows what happens when both parties work together toward a common goal,” McGuire said. “We want to make earning a community college or university degree in Illinois more certain and more affordable.”

    Details on the full slate of proposals can be found here.