IL lawmakers aim to find solutions to keep students in-state

Declining enrollment at Illinois universities
Updated: Aug. 14, 2018 at 5:42 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - With the decline in enrollment across universities in Illinois, lawmakers are working to find a solution.

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that gives universities the tools to attract in-state students with better financial aid, seamless credit transfers, and increased student counseling support.

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HB 5020 is a revision to the MAP Grant, giving priority to returning students when they renew their state grant, which can be as much as $4800 a year.

"Our colleges and universities are among the greatest in the world," said Rauner, "and they ought to be choices of first resort for students who reside here. The MAP Grant revision means our schools are now in a position to make aid offers that Illinois-based students will be more eager to accept."

One senior at SIU, Tim Sellman, said he relies on that MAP Grant, "Without the grants or scholarships or any other financial aid, it's just more weight on the student where you are either going to have to take out loans, which you are going to have to pay back….which is very stressful."

Charles says Illinois is competing with other states that can guarantee this need-based aid, so they're hoping this bill can help even the playing field.

SIU System's Director of Government and Public Affairs said, "We want more students to come here…we want the state to support their efforts to come here, to stay in southern Illinois, to stay in the region and become productive citizens after they graduate."

In addition, Rauner signed SB 2354, which makes it easier for students to transfer credits from a one Illinois school to another. According to the Governors Office, "The new law encourages institutions to counsel students more closely on how best to apply credits toward degrees and requires students who submit 30 or more credits to declare their degree interest so that the schools can advise on the best path to completion."

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