(The Center Square) – Three different bills looking to address issues within the state’s higher education system are now law.
Gov J.B. Pritzker signed the bills into law last month.
“Access to affordable, quality higher education shouldn’t be a privilege,” Pritzker said in a statement after announcing the bills were signed. “Today, we take a step forward in ensuring everyone – especially our historically underrepresented students – have the resources and investment necessary to thrive in our first-rate public education system. I am proud to sign these bills into law furthering our state’s commitment to educational equity for all Illinoisans.”
House Bills 5464, 4201, and Senate Bill 3991 all address issues within the state’s higher education system.
HB 4201 requires an institution of higher education to designate a benefits navigator with a detailed understanding of eligibility requirements for benefits programs and campus-wide and community resource support.
SB 3991 will allow the Illinois Treasurer to deposit funds into the Illinois Board of Higher Education savings program.
HB5464 requires state colleges to create equity plans to increase higher education access.
IBHE will oversee all three laws.
During a spring debate on HB5464, state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Champaign, criticized the board’s involvement due to previous failures.
“The Board of Higher Education has frankly failed over the last 25 years to prevent the explosive empire building by the presidents of our state universities,” Rose said. “They were tasked with appropriately planning the future for higher education in this state and allowed what was in the 70s, 80s, 90s, the envy of the world, to run itself into the ground.”
Senate sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, said Rose had changed his opinion on the IBHE.
“We need to remember, somebody has to try and uphold the reputation of higher education in the state,” Bennett said. “I have heard Senator Rose speak on this and many other issues where it was the opposite view that he wanted IBHE to have more power.”
The measures go into effect immediately.