Growing enrollment decline inspires higher education reforms

Continuing efforts to keep students in-state, new laws focused on improving the affordability and effectiveness of Illinois’ higher education system were signed into law this week.

Senate Bill 2927 creates the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program to encourage access and affordability for Illinois colleges and universities through a new merit-based scholarship. Colleges and public universities have the option to participate in the program where eligible students would be awarded an institutional match grant, making college more affordable for students seeking to obtain their degrees in-state.

Also signed into law was House Bill 4781, which creates the College and Career Interest Task Force. The Task Force will develop a process by which data may be collected and shared amongst public institutions of higher education. The goal is for the data to be utilized to make Illinois’ institutions of higher learning more marketable and attractive to potential students. The Task Force will submit their finding before the General Assembly by January 30, 2019.

Both measures were included in the comprehensive package of legislation proposed by the Higher Education Working Group earlier this year. The bipartisan group of lawmakers came together to address the growing outmigration of college students in Illinois.

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