Illinois Bill Would End Grants for Students at For-Profit Colleges

May 24, 2011

The Illinois General Assembly is poised to pass legislation that would bar students at for-profit colleges in the state from receiving funds from the state's main need-based grant program. The measure, Senate Bill 1773, passed overwhelmingly in the Senate last month, but in a form that would have allowed funds to flow to students at for-profit institutions. But with lawmakers facing the need for cuts in the Monetary Award Program, leaders in the state House amended the legislation to say that the Illinois Student Aid Commission "may not make grants to applicants enrolled at for-profit institutions." "Shouldn't our priority be public higher education, which is distressed right now?" Rep. Dan Brady, a Republican legislator, told The News-Gazette of Springfield. Officials of for-profit colleges in the state said that should it pass the House and survive a conference committee with Illinois's Senate, the legislation would strip $25 million in grants from about 8,000 students. "The students at our schools depend on these funds to obtain their college educations, and without them, they are left with a lifetime of minimum wage jobs and a loss of hope for a better future," Lawrence Schumacher, president of Northwestern College, wrote in a letter to legislators.

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