Bill Allowing Undocumented Students To Apply For Student Aid Passes Senate Committee

Supporters of the Student ACCESS bill demonstrate in Springfield.

In this undated photograph, supporters of the Student ACCESS bill demonstrate at the Abraham Lincoln statue on front of the state capitol building in Springfield.

A state Senate panel has approved a measure that would let undocumented students compete for financial help at Illinois’ four-year universities.

The student ACCESS bill (SB 2196) made it through the Senate Higher Education Committee Tuesday, on a party-line vote of 7 to 3.  Only Democrats backed the measure as it moved to the full Senate.

Earlier in the day, some undocumented students told of their families’ struggles paying for school … since they aren’t eligible to receive federal aid. 

Joining them in a press conference were Democratic lawmakers, including State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana, who says she’s met a number of students who can’t apply for scholarships due to their status.

“Four year universities can provide through their limited resources, support to students,” said Ammons, “who, unfortunately, can’t work enough hours in a day to pay for the cost of a four-year college in the state.  I think long term, we need to deal with that.”

According to the News-Gazette, Republicans voting against the plan Tuesday included Senator Kyle McCarter of Lebanon. He said making the funding available to undocumented students would increase competition for "scarce resources."

The bill has the support of University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen, former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing.

Story source: WILL