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ISAC State Legislative Update

Katharine Gricevich
Director of Government Relations
September 13, 2018

Below are status updates for noteworthy legislation approved by the Illinois General Assembly during its spring session, and on which the governor took action. All bills included in this report relate to ISAC’s mission or operations, and are grouped thematically. The Public Act number of each bill and its effective date are noted in italics.

The General Assembly will reconvene in November for the veto session.

Changes for Existing Programs

  • HB 4467 (Hurley/Raoul) – Dependents of police, fire, and correctional officers killed or severely, permanently disabled in the line of duty qualify for a grant exempting them from payment of tuition and fees at an Illinois public or private institution. ISAC has updated communications and application materials and has filed emergency rules for this Act, which extends the grant to an officer’s children regardless of whether they were born, adopted, or in the legal custody of the officer at the time when the qualifying disability occurred.
    Status: Public Act 100-0673
    Effective Date:8/3/18
  • HB 5020 (D. Brady/Bennett) – TThis initiative of the Higher Education Working Group requires ISAC to publish a priority deadline date annually for renewing MAP applicants, beginning with the processing of applications for the 2020-2021 academic year. Subject to appropriation, a renewing applicant who files by the published priority deadline date shall receive a grant if he or she continues to meet the program's eligibility requirements. Failure to apply by the priority deadline date would not disqualify an applicant from receiving a grant if sufficient funding is available to provide awards after that date; however, if funding came up short, the students who filed by the new priority deadline would get priority for funding.
    Status: Public Act 100-0823
    Effective Date:8/13/18
  • SB 2439 (S. Bennett/Ammons) – This bill, dubbed the Career Preservation and Student Loan Repayment Act, provides that no State agency or board may impose or refer a matter to any other agency to impose a denial, refusal to renew, suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action against a professional or occupational licensee for his or her delinquency, default, or other failure to perform on an educational loan or scholarship provided by or guaranteed by ISAC.
    Status: Public Act 100-0872
    Effective Date:8/14/18
  • SB 3138 (S. Bennett/Welch) – To protect the private financial information of Illinois students and families, this ISAC initiative would clarify that the personal identity and address of an applicant or recipient under a non-discretionary program administered by ISAC, where eligibility data is obtained from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or is protected from disclosure under federal or State law or under rules and regulations implementing federal or State law, is information that is intended to remain private and shall be exempt from inspection and copying under the Freedom of Information Act. The agency originally sought to protect the information of applicants and recipients for all ISAC-administered programs, but this narrower language was negotiated with the Office of the Attorney General.
    Status: Public Act 100-0887
    Effective Date:8/14/18

New Programs

  • HB 3342 (G.Harris/Steans) and SB 2927 (McGuire/K. Burke) – Two pieces of legislation were approved creating the new AIM HIGH program, administered by ISAC in partnership with the public universities. AIM HIGH (Aspirational Institutional Match Helping Illinois Grow Higher Education) was established both as a component of the budget implementation bill (HB 3342), and as a separate Act (SB 2927). The new program is authorized until October 2024 and is an initiative of the bipartisan, bicameral Higher Education Legislative Working Group. AIM HIGH is intended to help public universities attract and keep Illinois residents by providing state funds to match the institutions’ spending on financial aid for certain Illinois residents. The recipients must be full-time students with family incomes of no more than six times the federal poverty level (about $150,000 for a family of four); each institution will be able to set its own criteria for recipients (e.g., ACT and GPA levels) to receive the funds. ISAC will determine each institution’s allocation of funds (based on Illinois resident enrollment), collect data from the universities, and report on this pilot program annually. The General Assembly appropriated $25 million in FY19 for the program. Legislators hope that the program will help to address the State’s much-discussed “brain drain”: a concern that too many students are leaving the state to pursue a higher education and might never return.
    Status: Public Acts 100-0587 and 100-1015
    Effective Dates: 6/14/18 and 8/21/18 (sunsets 10/1/24). Program available to students in 2019-20 academic year.
  • HB 5109 (Lang/Steans) – Under a new Community Behavioral Health Care Professional Loan Repayment Program Act, subject to appropriation, ISAC will run a new program of grants to assist with student loan repayment on behalf of mental health and substance use professionals practicing in a community mental health center in an underserved or rural federally designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.
    Status: Public Act 100-0862
    Effective Dates: 1/1/19. Program to begin 7/1/19 if funded.
  • SB 2559 (Stadelman/Wallace) – Under this bill, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, ISAC is to develop a three-year education loan information pilot program for use by each public institution of higher education that enrolls students who are eligible to receive financial aid. Modeled after a recent Indiana mandate, the program requires that each public institution of higher education provide each enrolled student (or the parent or guardian of the student) certain information relating to the student's cumulative loan debt, expected payments after graduation, and other information. The bill does not provide detail regarding ISAC’s role in administering this pilot; most of the new responsibilities are actually assigned to the institutions.
    Status: Public Act 100-0926
    Effective Dates: 1/1/19 (sunsets 6/1/23). Program to begin in 2019-20 academic year.

Other Measures Related to Affordability and Access

  • HB 4781 (K. Burke/McGuire) – ISAC will have a seat on a new College and Career Interest Task Force that will be staffed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The role of the Task Force is to study methods by which the college or career interest data of Illinois high school students could be collected and shared with public institutions of higher education. The Task Force will be required to submit its findings to the General Assembly on or before January 30, 2019, at which time the Task Force will be dissolved. This initiative was supported by the Higher Education Working Group.
    Status: Public Act 100-1007
    Effective Dates: 8/21/18. Study to be completed by 1/30/19.
  • HB 5122 (Welch/Castro) – This initiative will require community colleges and public universities to waive tuition and fees for youth for whom the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has court-ordered legal responsibility, youth who aged out of care at age 18 or older, and youth formerly under care who have been adopted and were the subject of an adoption assistance agreement or who have been placed in private guardianship and were the subject of a subsidized guardianship agreement. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent and must file a FAFSA. The waivers will be available for at least the first five years the student is enrolled in a community college or public university, and would be applied after MAP and Pell grants. DCFS would also be permitted to provide the student with a stipend to cover other expenses, and the Department is required to develop outreach programs to ensure that young people who qualify are aware of the availability of the tuition and fee waivers. DCFS is currently developing rules and procedures for the program; ISAC staff have introduced key DCFS staff to institutional financial aid administrators to provide perspective on implementation details.
    Status: Public Act 100-1045
    Effective Dates: 1/1/19. DCFS tentatively anticipates that waiver procedures will be in place in summer 2019 or fall 2019.
  • HB 5202 (Ford/Lightford) – Subject to appropriation, this bill would require the Governor to establish a Youth Budget Commission to analyze enacted State budget items that directly impact adolescents. The Commission would also monitor and provide recommendations on policies and research that affect young people.
    Status: Public Act 100-0818
    Effective Dates: 8/13/18
  • HB 5696 (Welch/Lightford) – This bill would create a Bridge Program for Underrepresented Students Act. The Act would allow each public university in this State to establish a bridge program meeting specific requirements for underrepresented students. (Many institutions have such programs already under current law.) Under the Act, a public university that establishes a bridge program would be required before September 1 each year (beginning 2019) to publish a report about the Program on its website.
    Status: Public Act 100-1063
    Effective Dates: 8/24/18
  • SB 2354 (McGuire/Stuart) – This bill combines three initiatives of the Higher Education Working Group. First, it makes minor changes to increase the use of “reverse transfer,” including a requirement that a community college must make a determination within 30 days of receiving a student’s request to accept “reverse transfer” credits and confer an associate’s degree. Second, beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, each public institution must require any student completing 30 academic credit hours to indicate all of his or her degree programs of interest. In turn, the public institution must make a reasonable attempt to conduct a meeting with the student and an academic advisor of the public institution, who shall inform the student of the prerequisite requirements for the student's degree programs of interest. Finally, the bill removes the IBHE’s authority to limit the amount of tuition revenue that a public university may waive.
    Status: Public Act 100-0824
    Effective Dates: 8/13/18
  • SB 2527 (Weaver/Swanson) – Under this bill, a qualified high school student would be allowed to enroll in an unlimited amount of dual credit courses and earn an unlimited amount of academic credits from dual credit courses if the courses are taught by an Illinois instructor, as provided under the Dual Credit Quality Act. Currently, some school districts limit the number of dual credit courses that a student may take.
    Status: Public Act 100-0792
    Effective Dates: 1/1/19
  • SB 2838 (Bertino-Tarrant/Manley) – To attempt to expand access to dual credit, this bill requires community college districts to offer dual credit coursework upon the request of school districts within their jurisdiction. School districts are also barred from entering into a new contract with an out-of-state institution to provide a dual credit course without first offering the opportunity to the community college district where the school district is located.
    Status: Public Act 100-1049
    Effective Dates: 1/1/19
  • SR 1647 (Lightford) – This resolution recognizes significant disparities in college degree completion rates for low-income and first generation college students and students of color at institutions across the State, and it urges the State's P-20 Council to update the State's 60 by 25 goal to include equity-focused targets aimed at closing institutional racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps.
    Status: Resolution Adopted

Administrative Change

  • HB 5611 (Andrade/Martinez) – The main focus of this bill is to codify the executive order that consolidated many agencies’ information technology departments and established the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT). While ISAC was listed among the transferring agencies in the order, the agency’s IT department remains independent of DoIT. Before the passage of HB 5611, DoIT staff and the bill sponsors committed to ISAC and to the Office of the Executive Inspector General that the language would be amended to remove both entities from the bill. However, a trailer bill to make that change (HB 5093) was not heard by the full House before May 31st. ISAC will work for that bill to be pursued in Veto Session.
    Status: Public Act 100-0611, but a trailer bill is expected
    Effective Dates: 7/20/2018