New laws seek to give Illinois’ colleges and universities the necessary tools to attract in-state students, advancing improved financial aid plans, a more liberal application of credit transfers, and increased student counseling support.
“Last year, I joined a small number of lawmakers to form the Higher Education Working Group, tasked with addressing the enrollment decline in higher education. The result of our work was legislation that strives to do better for Illinois students, making Illinois’ higher education system more attractive, stable and responsive to the needs of our students. I applaud the governor for supporting our efforts to keep students in-state and look forward to working together in the future to make Illinois’ public universities and colleges more competitive.” – Senator Tom Rooney (Rolling Meadows)
While the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) renewals are awarded annually throughout a student’s post-secondary education, under House Bill 5020 priority consideration will now be given to existing recipients. Nearly 130,000 students received MAP grants in Fiscal Year 2018 and all but graduating students may be eligible for priority status in Fiscal Year 2019.
“These measures are about taking fundamental steps to address some of the issues currently identified within Illinois’ institutions of higher learning, underscoring the need to provide a higher education system that works for our students and encourages them to seek their degrees in-state. I’m excited to see these bills receive the governor’s support and hope that this will give lawmakers a platform to continue to work to make Illinois’ higher education more competitive and reliable.” – Senator John Curran (Downers Grove)
Senate Bill 2354 was also signed, a product of the General Assembly’s bipartisan, bicameral Higher Education Working Group organized with the goal of making Illinois’ colleges and universities more attractive and affordable for students across the state. The new law makes it easier for thousands of students to “reverse transfer” credits from one Illinois school to another, offering a low-cost alternative to award degrees to individuals who have accrued a significant number of college credits, but are left without a postsecondary credential despite having earned enough credits to be eligible for an associate degree.
In order to help prevent students from spending time and money on needless credits, the measure also encourages institutions to counsel students who expect to transfer to a public university on how best to apply credits toward degrees. This legislation seeks to help more students finish their degrees and prevent students from spending time and money on needless credits.