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Staff Could Lose Tuition Break at Illinois Universities


(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

The University of Illinois is speaking out against legislation to do away with discounted tuition waivers for the children of University employees.

Employees at public universities in the state who have been in their jobs for at least seven years are eligible to receive half-price tuition for their children. U of I spokesman Tom Hardy says the waivers help give the university more of competitive edge over other institutions.

"It's available to employees at other colleges and universities that are peer institutions of this university," Hardy said. "So, for a competitive reason to be able to recruit and retain the best employees, we need to be able to have a provision like this."

The Board of Higher Education says the tuition waivers for employees' children cost a little over $8 million last year and went to more than 2,000 students.

Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) is sponsoring the legislation. It passed a House committee last week and will move to the full House. The Chicago Democrat says the state cannot afford to provide the benefit.

Meanwhile, the state currently owes the University of Illinois about $387 million.