Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation to Expand
Access to Higher Education
Bills aimed at increasing education equity across Illinois
CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker today signed legislation designed to increase access to Illinois' higher education system, close equity gaps, and improve student protections and operational effectiveness. The bills expand resources available to students and build on the administration's efforts to expand equitable access to public universities and community colleges.
House Bill 4201 helps students at state universities and community colleges access benefits through "benefits navigators." Each institution is tasked with assigning a benefits navigator for the purpose of guiding students to seek and apply for any federal, state, or local program that provides assistance or benefits for which they are eligible. HB 4201 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
Senate Bill 3991 amends the Illinois Higher Education Savings Program, also known as the Children's Savings Program, which was established to start each baby born or adopted in Illinois with a $50 college savings deposit in the Treasurer's 529 fund. This legislation allows the State Treasurer to increase the deposit amount for children in financially insecure households if funds are available. SB 3991 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2023.
House Bill 5464 requires State public universities and community colleges to develop and implement equity plans and practices to increase the access, retention, completion, and student loan repayment rates for minority students, rural students, adult students, women, and people with disabilities who are traditionally underrepresented in education programs and activities. The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), in collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board, will guide implementation of the new equity plans. The bill also allows IBHE to request financial reports from private universities, private business, and vocational schools, if needed, to help institutions stay on solid financial footing. HB 5464 is effective immediately.
"Access to affordable, quality higher education shouldn't be a privilege," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Today, we take a step forward in ensuring everyone—especially our historically underrepresented students—have the resources and investment necessary to thrive in our first-rate public education system. I am proud to sign these bills into law furthering our state's commitment to educational equity for all Illinoisans."
Read the full press release at https://www.illinois.gov/news/press-release.25010.html
2017-18 Illinois Legislative Black Caucus
The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, founded in 1968, stands for the progression of the African-American community by promoting education, health and welfare, minority business enterprise, job creation, consumer education and criminal justice reform.
Chair: Senator Kimberly A. Lightford
Senate Chairman: Senator Toi Hutchinson
House Chairman: Representative Camille Y. Lilly
Treasurer: Representative Elgie R Sims, Jr.
Secretary: Representative Litesa E. Wallace
Sergeant-at-Arms/Parliamentarian: Representative Sonya Harper