Student Access Bill LaunchCHICAGO- Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) recently joined fellow legislators and student and immigrant advocates at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to launch her “Student Access Bill.”

“Education is the great equalizer in our society,” said Martinez, who is sponsoring the measure. “All students who are qualified and eager to learn should be able to compete for assistance to pay for college.”

Undocumented students in Illinois are currently ineligible to receive state-based financial aid.

Martinez wants that to change.

Under the senator’s plan, undocumented students meeting certain criteria would be considered Illinois residents for tuition purposes and be eligible to access state-based financial aid.

If the proposal becomes law, it is estimated that 1,500 students from Illinois’ four-year public universities would receive new scholarship opportunities.

The measure does not require the state to increase spending for higher education or create a new scholarship program. It simply gives public universities the authority to offer financial aid to all students.

Senate Bill 2196 is an initiative of the University of Illinois in conjunction with the Latino Policy Forum. Former Gov. Jim Edgar, other elected officials, business and civic leaders, faith-based leaders, labor unions and numerous nonprofit organizations back the legislation.

“I am pleased that a diverse coalition has already lined up to support the Student Access Bill,” Martinez said. “Now we just need to keep the momentum going into next year’s legislative session.”

Category: In The News

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