Opposition Organized Against Bill To End State University Tuition Waivers

St. Rep. Carol Ammons speaking at the University of Illinois Urbana campus.

St. Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) speaks against legilsation to eliminate state university tuition waivers at the University of Illinois Urbana campus.

(Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media)

Employees at Illinois’ public universities would lose a 50% tuition discount for their children, under a bill in the Illinois House. But employees at the University of Illinois Urbana campus --- and their state representative --- are pushing back.

State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) says the nearly $10 million a year that would be saved by ending the tuition waivers wouldn’t be worth the damage it would do to state universities and their employees.

At a news conference Wednesday on the U of I Urbana campus, Molly McLaughlin, an office worker at the university’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, said the tuition waiver is one reason she decided to work at the university. 

“If it is taken away, combined with the pension crisis we are also facing, my family will mostly likely join the 95,000 others that have left the state this year”, said McLaughlin.

Ammons says she’s met with the bill’s sponsor, St. Representative Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), “and shared with him how detrimental this will be for the university and its ability to recruit staff.”

Ammons says she thinks Franks sees the strength of her argument, and hopes that he’ll have taken it into consideration when the General Assembly returns from their spring break next week.

Franks chairs the House State Government Administration Committee, which approved the measure. It now moves on to the full Illinois House.

The 50% tuition waiver is available to faculty and staff who have been at state universities in Illinois for at least seven years. Franks’ bill (HB 403) would eliminate the waivers for new students after the 2015-2016 academic years, but allow the waivers to continue for current students.

Illinois Public Media is part of the University of Illinois, and its employees, including news staff, are eligible for the partial tuition waiver for state university employees.

Story source: WILL