News Local/State

State Senators Discuss Bills Addressing Illinois ‘Brain Drain’

The University of Illinois.

A bipartisan effort in the General Assembly has produced bills aimed at keeping more Illinois high school students in state for college. Daniel Baker/Illinois Public Media

Two bills recently passed the state legislature that aim to keep more Illinois high school students in state for college. This comes as the Illinois Board of Higher Education reports that since 2000, the number of Illinois residents enrolled as freshman at colleges outside of Illinois has increased by 73 percent. 

Under House Bill 5020, returning MAP grant recipients can be first in line for continued funding, assuming they file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time and continue qualifying for aid. 

The other bill--Senate Bill 2927--would create the Aim High grant pilot program for a new merit based scholarship in state. 

State Senator Pat MacGuire is a Democrat from Crest Hill. Speaking on the 21st show, he says the new legislation is aimed at addressing so-called brain drain at Illinois colleges—where students are choosing to go out of state.

“We learned that the decline in Illinois higher Ed, which predated the budget impasse, that’s shaking people’s confidence in our Illinois higher education system, and so again we need to convey certainty and predictability," said McGuire. 

State Senator Chapin Rose is a Republican from Mahomet. Also speaking on the 21st show, he says these two pieces of legislation should help make college in Illinois more affordable. 

“From a certainty perspective, from an affordability perspective, there’s no question in a student’s mind or a parent’s mind that they’d rather go with a certainty rather than a maybe," said Rose. 

It’s now up to Governor Bruce Rauner to sign or veto both bills.