SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To help protect higher education institutions in Illinois, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, is supporting a plan developed by a bipartisan group of legislators to help increase enrollment at state universities.
“While the budget impasse adversely affected many social service organizations from across the state, it also had a devastating impact on state colleges and universities” Manley said. “Many college students left the state to complete their education and start their careers elsewhere because of the instability it caused. The short-sighted and reckless budget crisis Governor Rauner created will have a lasting impact on our colleges, universities and economy if legislators don’t do everything they can encourage more students to go to school in Illinois.”
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, in 2002, only 29 percent of Illinois’ high school graduates attended college out of state. In 2015, this skyrocketed to 46 percent of students. Manley is working with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to reverse this trend. Her plan includes making it easier for students to transfer credits between universities and community colleges; streamlining the process for recipients of Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants at public universities for the four years they are in school; ensuring that more courses can transfer between institutions; creating the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program to encourage universities to award merit-based scholarships to Illinois residents; and making it easier for public universities to upgrade their buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, the State Board of Education is also asked to gather contact information for high school students to allow public universities to contact them directly about enrolling.
“We know that when young people go to away to school, they are much more likely to start their career and build their life in the same location,” Manley said. “Reducing the number of students leaving the state and investing in our world class state universities is essential to growing our economy and middle class. Once again, when Democrats and Republicans worked together, legislators were able to find a solution to challenges facing the state.”
This legislative package includes House Bill 4781, House Bill 5020, Senate Bill 2354, Senate Bill 2927, Senate Bill 2969 and Senate Joint Resolution 76.