IL Lawmakers consider free college tuition

Debate over free college tuition begins in IL
Updated: Apr. 5, 2017 at 6:25 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - Free tuition for college students was a topic of discussion in Springfield today.

While the legislation may sound like a good opportunity, some parents had concerns about the bill.

Parents of kids are excited for the words "FREE TUITION". Mother of two, Angela Povolish, has been saving since her children were born.

"It sure does sound nice...Having a son that's getting ready to go to high school in a year…we'll be looking at schools and where he will be attending schools," Povolish said. "And the older they get the more you're worried about college tuition how much it's going to cost to send them and how well they are doing in school and whether they will have a scholarship."

Whether you have loans or scholarships, parents know college can be expensive, and Kevin Mechler, a dad of a high school student, understands that.

Mechler explains, "I have planned because I want to provide that opportunity for my kids. I would also support being of assistance for someone who is otherwise qualified and whose parents haven't been able to plan for them."

Both of these parents are in support of this bill, but have ONE outstanding issue - the state's fiscal budget.

"The questions I would have – is how we would do that in a state like IL that is so currently cash strap that it would make it a challenge to fund it,"  Mechler said.

Povolish agrees, "It's no secret that the state is in pretty bad shape. So, I don't know how that would be done. It's certainly worth thinking about and exploring."

Representative Will Guzzardi is behind House Bill 4030 and sees a benefit for the state and even state universities.

"I think if we had tuition free IL in place, you'd see students flocking to our public universities," Representative Guzzardi said. "You'd see families moving to IL so they can raise their kids here and send them to college tuition free. I think you'd see reverse the trend of declining enrollment at our universities and our population loss in our state. I think it would be huge boom to our state overall."

"When things are in a healthier state, this is certainly something we should think about," explains Povolish.

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