Illinois law gives tuition assistance to undocumented and transgender students

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law Monday that will provide tuition assistance to undocumented citizens and transgender students.

House Bill 2691 passed the House in April 2019, and the Senate in May.

Under the Retain Illinois Students Act, the state will provide monetary assistance to non-citizen students and transgender students not eligible for federal student loan aid because they failed to register for the selective service.

“I’m committed to expanding college affordability for every student in Illinois because it’s a common sense investment in our future – with more students attending college here, there will be more opportunities to create good jobs, to keep talent in Illinois and to grow our economy for everyone,” said Governor JB Pritzker.

“After years of college students choosing to leave Illinois, we’re turning the page to a new era to make our schools more affordable for all students by increasing funding for MAP grants, AIM HIGH scholarships, and increasing funding for our schools,” the governor continued.

All males 18 and older are required to register for the selective service in the case of a military draft.

“Because transgendered students have paperwork with different sex and gender identities on their record, any confusion about a student’s sex can significantly delay their federal aid,” Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said.

Universities and colleges would benefit from the taxpayer-funded Monetary Award Program grants if qualifying students attend.

State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said the state’s MAP funds will not be able to accomodate all the students covered by Hernandez’ bill.

“That would certainly increase the number of eligible students for the MAP grant program and I have serious concerns about that,” Hammond said.

“We currently don’t have a revenue estimate, the governor predicts revenue is going to be $3 billion less than expected spending for next year and that’s without this,” State Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) said.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission estimates the measure would increase demand for MAP grants by about $9 million.

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