Villanueva encourages youth employment assistance providers to apply for state grant

teens 070820CHICAGO – With young people facing high rates of unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced that the Illinois Youth Investment Program is extending its grant application deadline to Aug. 3, 2020.

“For most of my career I have been dedicated to the development of young people and am continuously amazed at the things that they can accomplish,” Villanueva said. “Organizations looking to help at-risk young people should apply for these grants so that they have the necessary resources to set them up for success.”

Villanueva: Students should seek college financial aid adjustments

villanueva 02182020HAO0695CHICAGO – With college students preparing to return to campus, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) announced that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) is offering free consultation to students applying for financial aid.

“The financial aid process can be frustrating, especially for those who are first generation college students,” Villanueva said. “ISAC can help apply for financial aid, answer questions and help maximize the benefits you receive.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of Illinois families face financial uncertainty. Students and parents can seek an adjustment to their financial aid offers based on their new financial situation. ISAC is available to assist families in this process both online and through their ISAC College Q&A program – a free text service where students can find answers to financial aid questions on their phones. Assistance is available in English and Spanish.

ISAC can also help students and their families with both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid. The alternative application is reserved for undocumented and certain transgender students who are ineligible for FAFSA.

New education laws will help students succeed as remote learning continues

elearningCHICAGO – Teachers and students will have extra support during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to an education package championed by State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) that was signed into law on Thursday.

“These changes will help students and teachers to overcome the new challenges they face during the pandemic,” Villanueva said. “As we move forward, we must find new ways to ensure that students are able to maintain a path to success in their education.”

The education package extends educator license renewals for one year, so teachers don’t have to go through the renewal process while working remotely. It also allows for mandatory tests to be taken remotely, so students will not need to risk infection while taking a required college entry exam.

For higher education courses, a grade of “pass”, “credit” or “satisfactory” during the public health emergency is transferable and will fulfill prerequisite requirements for more advanced courses. The package also modifies the income requirements for the AIM HIGH education grant program. Under this new provision, a student’s income when they enter the program will remain their income for the duration of their inclusion in the program.

Senate Bill 1569 was signed by the governor on Thursday and is effective immediately.

Villanueva: Vote by mail needs to be made permanent

Vote by mailCHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) celebrated a historic election package that expands the state’s vote by mail program for the 2020 General Election.

“Access to the ballot is a fundamental right,” Villanueva said. “Expanding vote by mail will allow voters to participate in our democracy while taking necessary precautions during this public health crisis.”

Senate Bill 1863 will send anyone who voted in the past two years an application to vote by mail. Voters who aren’t sent an application will be able to apply to vote by mail online. Election Day of this year will also be made a state holiday so schools can be used as polling places without putting students at increased risk for COVID-19. All provisions in this legislation apply to the 2020 General Election only.

“I am confident that this pilot program will show how safe and efficient voting by mail is,” Villanueva said. “I look forward to making this expansion a permanent part of how we vote in Illinois.”

Senate Bill 1863 was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

Sen. Celina Villanueva

Sen. Celina Villanueva

11th District

Years served: 2020–Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Higher Education (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Born in Chicago and raised in Little Village. Full-time state legislator. Former Civic & Youth Engagement Manager at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Bachelor’s degree in Latino/a Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Community organizer and avid reader.

Associated Representatives:
Edgar Gonzalez, Jr.
Michael J. Madigan