JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC State Legislative Update

Katharine Gricevich
Director of Government Relations
March 26, 2020

Both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly cancelled several scheduled days of legislative session in March, consistent with guidance from public health officials about maintaining physical distance from others to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Many bills have been assigned to committees for consideration, but committee meetings have not been scheduled as of this writing. In the House, members have been informed that the committee deadline for House bills, which was originally in late March, will be extended to April 24. The deadline for initial House passage of House bills has been extended to May 8, which will now be a scheduled session day. According to the House Democratic chief of staff, these and other deadlines will be reviewed and extended as needed moving forward while the session schedule remains “in flux.” Members have been informed that they could be called back to Springfield to address urgent matters during what was originally scheduled as a spring break, the weeks of April 5 and April 12. Senators received similar messages from the leadership in their chamber.

One scenario that’s been widely speculated on is that the General Assembly may convene for a compressed schedule of just a few days to focus on passing on high-priority, urgent legislation including a budget for state fiscal year 2021. In that case, other, less urgent legislation would likely not be considered until at least the fall.

It also remains to be seen how the current pandemic and its impact on the economy will affect the state budget or appropriations for the coming year. While the legislature’s bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability has predicted a very substantial impact on the state’s coffers from the repercussions of COVID-19, analysts are also working to evaluate the impact of a federal response package that’s expected to become law this week, a state tax filing deadline that has now been delayed until July 15th, and other factors.

Bills affecting college affordability and access are described below.

We try to ensure that each bill status and description below is accurate as of the date the report is issued. For the most up-to-date information, however, visit the Illinois General Assembly’s website, www.ilga.gov. A flowchart depicting how a bill becomes a law in Illinois, which may provide context for bill status descriptions, is available here: http://ilga.gov/commission/lru/HowBillBecomesLaw2016.pdf.

BILLS DIRECTLY AFFECTING ISAC PROGRAMS

HB 871 (Greenwood) would create a new need-based grant program that would be available beginning with the 2020-21 academic year to students at public universities who take at least 15 hours a semester and whose income is below the federally-determined poverty level. Much more generous than existing grant programs, this would cover the total cost of attendance, defined as the tuition and fee, room and board, and book and supply costs related to a student's attendance at a public university. Students would need to maintain satisfactory academic progress (as determined by the university). Grants would be subject to appropriation and could be prorated if the amount appropriated is insufficient to cover total cost of attendance for all eligible applicants. ISAC estimates that nearly 21,000 poverty-level, full-time students at public universities could immediately benefit from this program if it were funded, with a projected year one cost of approximately $312 million. Costs would rise if the program attracted additional students and as tuition and fees rise. (House Amendment #1 is a page-and-line amendment that merely clarifies that the grant created by this bill would be applied after MAP and Pell grants.)

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 3992 (West) prohibits IBHE from awarding any grants to for-profit institutions, prohibits ISAC from awarding MAP grants to students attending for-profit institutions, and changes the definition of an “institution of higher learning” that applies throughout ISAC’s enabling law. As introduced, the bill would take effect immediately upon becoming law, which could occur in the middle of an academic year or between when grants have been awarded to students and when those grants would be paid. For FY19, the last completed year, less than 2.5% of both MAP dollars and MAP recipients went to for-profits. For FY20, four for-profit institutions are approved for participation in the program (Chamberlain, DeVry, Northwestern College, and Fox College).

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4129 (Sosnowski) would bar any new contract sales for the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program after June 30, 2020. The program has been closed to new enrollment in recent years, and ISAC continues working with policymakers to address the unfunded liability, estimated at about $317 million as of the June 30, 2019, actuarial soundness report. The bill does not address the existing unfunded liability, for which the state bears a moral obligation under existing law that is unchanged by the bill.

  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

HB 4243 (Pappas) would make MAP grants available to students in any certificate program offered by a community college. This includes students who have already achieved a bachelor’s degree or already received 135 credit hours of MAP; students in any certificate program would be exempt from these limits on MAP use, which apply to all other students.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4256 (Ortiz) would create a new ISAC-administered “State Seal of Biliteracy” grant program for teachers-in-training, subject to appropriation of funding. Meant to help address the state’s shortage of bilingual teachers, the program would require recipients to repay their grants if they don’t obtain educator licenses. The introduced bill has an effective date of July 1, 2020.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 4833 (Davis) would create a new African-American male teacher scholarship, administered by ISAC. Grants sufficient to cover tuition and fees would go to students who are enrolled in an Illinois-approved educator preparation program. The bill would take effect immediately.

  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

HB 4834 (Ammons) and HB 4978 (Gong-Gershowitz) prohibit the filing of petitions for guardianship transfer that are made in order to reduce the resources available for a student to pay educational costs. Both bills direct judges to deny any petition if they find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the primary purpose of the filing is to cause the minor to qualify for public or private financial assistance from an educational institution (or, in HB 4978, from a State or federal student financial aid program).

  • HB 4834: Assigned to House Judiciary – Family Law Subcommittee
  • HB 4978: Passed House Judiciary. House 2nd Reading

HB 4944 (Mason) would expand eligibility for veterans’ services and programs, such as the Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG), that are ordinarily available only to those who received an honorable discharge. The bill provides that any time a State statute requires a veteran to have been "honorably discharged" to qualify for a program, the agency administering the program must interpret "honorably discharged" to include a discharge under other than honorable conditions due to post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, status as a survivor of sexual assault or harassment, LGBTQ-related issues, or mental health issues. It would not include a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge.

  • Assigned to House Veterans’ Affairs Committee

HB 4969 (Flowers) would extend eligibility for the grant program for exonerated persons to also provide grant assistance to all dependents (spouse and children) of exonerees.

  • Filed with the House Clerk

HB 5001 (Guzzardi) is intended to connect more students who are parents with resources available to them. It requires ISAC to include information about the Child Care Assistance Program and the federal dependent care allowance in the language that schools are annually required to provide to students eligible for MAP grants. The bill would require that institutions provide this information not only to MAP-eligible students but also to any student identified by the institution as being a student with dependents. The bill also specifies that an institution may designate a public benefits liaison or single point person to assist students in taking the necessary steps to obtain public benefits if eligible. ISAC would be required to adopt rules to implement the provisions on or before October 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to House Human Services Committee

HB 5140 (Davis) is a Governor initiative requiring that on and after the effective date of the amendatory Act, ISAC will set aside 15% of the total annual funds appropriated for MAP grants for the purpose of making grants to students attending a community college. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

HB 5195 (Evans) would require the State’s Department of Central Management Services (CMS), in consultation with ISAC, to develop and implement a program allowing State employees to receive payment for unused vacation days which would go towards the payment of student loans.

  • Assigned to House Personnel & Pensions Committee

HB 5239 (Ammons) requires ISAC to implement a program, beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, to award College Promise grants to Illinois residents seeking an associate degree from a public community college. Sets forth the terms and conditions of the program. Effective July 1, 2020.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5325 (Harper) would create a new ISAC-administered program providing grant assistance for disproportionately underrepresented teachers. Provides that a student qualifies for a disproportionately underrepresented teacher grant if he or she: (i) is a graduate of a public or nonpublic high school; (ii) is a member of a population that is disproportionately underrepresented in the teacher-to-student ratio in the State; (iii) is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a public or private university in undergraduate studies in teacher education or in an approved educator preparation program; and (iv) intends to obtain an educator license. Sets forth additional provisions of the grant. Effective July 1, 2020. The existing Minority Teachers of Illinois scholarship serves a similar purpose.

  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

HB 5385 (Hammond) extends the sunset on the tax credit for contributions to Bright Start/Bright Directions and the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program to December 31, 2030 (currently, December 30, 2020).

  • Assigned to House Revenue & Finance Committee

HB 5388 (Hammond) excludes amounts in a state 529 savings or prepaid tuition program from the calculation of a student or family’s assets for the purposes of determining eligibility for any ISAC-administered financial aid program, beginning on July 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5541 (McCombie) would transfer the powers and duties under the Grow Your Own Teacher Education Act from IBHE to ISAC. Among other provisions, it would require ISAC to either evaluate program implementation or contract with an outside entity to do so.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5573 (Ramirez) would make refugees and individuals who have special immigrant status Illinois residents for tuition purposes. Effective January 1, 2021. Notably, the RISE Act made students who are eligible for in-state tuition also eligible for any financial aid program funded by the state or a public institution.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HJR 101 (Ortiz) requires ISAC to convene a working group to develop model financial aid policies and procedures for institutions to implement state and federal programs. The group would, at minimum, include representatives from the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA) and the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC).

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

SB 2287 (Castro) requires higher education institutions to provide prospective students with a standardized financial aid “shopping sheet” and imposes new restrictions and requirements on public universities regarding mandatory student fees and fee transparency, all effective July 1, 2020. Under the bill, institutions would be required to adopt either a shopping sheet format developed by ISAC or a format developed by the U.S. Department of Education or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 2324 (Bertino-Tarrant) and SB 2329 (Murphy) would both create “College Promise” programs meant to ensure that Illinois students meeting certain criteria can get at least two years of community college free of tuition and fees. ISAC projects the cost of SB 2324 to be about $209 million for Year One and $396 million for Year Two, if institutions maintain their current levels of institutional aid. As introduced, both bills would allow a student meeting all eligibility criteria to either attend community college or use a roughly equivalent grant at an institution in another sector. Both bills would require a recipient to enroll full-time in the fall term after high school graduation (or receipt of a high school equivalency certificate) and to participate in mentoring and community service. As introduced, SB 2329 (Murphy) differs from SB 2324 by allowing grants to be used at Private Business and Vocational Schools.

  • SB 2324: Senate Higher Education Committee
  • SB 2329: Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 2536 (Hastings) amends the Higher Education Student Assistance Act to allow an Illinois Veteran Grant to be transferred to a qualified dependent beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year if, among other requirements, the qualified dependent's spouse or parent has served at least 8 years combined of federal active duty service or Reserve or Individual Ready Reserve Service. Effective July 1, 2020.

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

SB 3006 (Rose) would dissolve ISAC and the Illinois Community College Board, transferring the agencies’ powers and duties to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The bill would also increase the membership of the Board of Higher Education, make other changes to the Board's membership, and allow IBHE to require the elimination of any program of instruction, research, or public service at a public university that exhibits a trend of low performance.

  • Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3509 (Villivalam) would require each public university and community college district to deem a dependent student whose parent or guardian holds an H-1B visa or Permanent Resident Card an Illinois resident for tuition purposes if the student satisfies other conditions that determine Illinois residency for tuition purposes. Notably, the RISE Act made students who are eligible for in-state tuition also eligible for any financial aid program funded by the state or a public institution. Effective July 1, 2020.

  • Senate Executive Committee – Subcommittee on Procurement

SB 3539 (Rose) would impose additional requirements for for-profit institutions to stay in the Monetary Award Program. Specifically, the qualified for-profit institution would need to meet these criteria: (i) beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year, a qualified for-profit institution may not exceed a 15% national 3-year student loan cohort default rate, as published by the U.S. Department of Education, and (ii) beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, a qualified for-profit institution must maintain an 80% student success rate (which is defined in the bill). A for-profit institution's failure to meet those eligibility requirements would result in a probationary academic year, during which the institution would be required to notify all current and prospective MAP-eligible students that the school could lose eligibility. If the institution failed to meet the above requirements for 2 consecutive academic years, an applicant enrolled at the institution would lose MAP eligibility. For a student to regain MAP eligibility at that institution, the institution would have to meet the for-profit institution eligibility requirements for at least 2 consecutive academic years. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3540 (Manar) would transfer the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program from ISAC to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), effective 7/01/2020.

  • Senate Education Committee approves. Senate 2nd Reading.

SB 3636 (Lightford) would, among other changes related to nurse educators, amend the Nursing Education Scholarship Law to provide that the Department of Public Health may award a total of $500,000 annually in nursing education scholarships. Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Creates an income tax credit for taxpayers who are employed during the taxable year as nurse educators. Provides that the credit shall be equal to 2.5% of the taxpayer's federal adjusted gross income for the taxable year. Of note, ISAC also administers a loan repayment program for nurse educators and previously administered a nurse educator scholarship program that sunsetted several years ago.

  • Assigned to Senate Executive Committee

SB 3680 (B. Brady) would radically change the structure for funding universities in the state, require all public universities to develop a transition plan to become private entities within six years, beginning on July 1, 2020. State funding for the institutions would instead come through an ISAC-administered “Illinois Grant Program” awarded to students with financial need who are enrolled for at least 15 credit hours in an institution of higher learning. Students would have to repay half of the amount received if they graduated within four years or less and the full amount if they did not complete within that time (with adjustments made for those who ultimately graduate within 10 years and for those who reside in Illinois after graduation).

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

SB 3727 (Gillespie) would create the School Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment grant program, administered by ISAC to assist recipients with repayment of educational loans. Eligible applicants would be social workers employed by a public elementary or secondary school district in the State. Effective July 1, 2021.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3728 (Gillespie) would create the ISAC-administered Post-Master of Social Work School Social Work Professional Educator License scholarships for individuals who hold a valid Illinois-licensed clinical social work license or social work license and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree but also want to obtain a Professional Educator License with an endorsement in social work. Among the terms and conditions, a recipient of the scholarship would be required to work at a public or nonpublic not-for profit preschool, elementary, or secondary school located in the State for at least 2 of the 5 years immediately following the recipient's graduation or termination of studies. Effective January 1, 2021.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3763 (Villanueva) would create the ISAC-administered bilingual education teacher scholarship. The principal, or his or her designee, of an approved high school would certify to the Commission, for students who are Illinois residents and are completing an application for the scholarship, that the student ranked scholastically in the upper one-half of their graduating class at the end of the sixth semester. Provides teacher education program enrollment requirements. Provides post-scholarship teaching requirements and exemptions. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to Senate Education Committee

SB 3782 (Lightford), like HB 5140 (Davis), is a Governor initiative requiring that on and after the effective date of the amendatory Act, ISAC will set aside 15% of the total annual funds appropriated for MAP grants for the purpose of making grants to students attending a community college. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to Senate Appropriations II Committee

SB 3790 (Villanueva), like HB 5001 (Guzzardi), is intended to connect more students who are parents with resources available to them. It requires ISAC to annually include information about the Child Care Assistance Program and the federal dependent care allowance in the language that schools are required to provide to students eligible for MAP grants. The bill would require that institutions provide this information not only to MAP-eligible students but also to any student identified by the institution as being a student with dependents. The bill also specifies that an institution may designate a public benefits liaison or single point person to assist students in taking the necessary steps to obtain public benefits if eligible. ISAC would be required to adopt rules to implement the provisions on or before October 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3845 (McGuire) would limit the applicability of the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA), providing that for public institutions of higher education, specified provisions of GATA apply only to awards funded by federal pass-through awards from a State agency to public institutions of higher education (currently, also applies to awards funded by State appropriations). Provides that the Act shall recognize specified provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations as applicable to public institutions of higher education. Effective immediately.

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

OTHER LEGISLATION AFFECTING HIGHER EDUCATION ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY

HB 4064 (Greenwood) creates the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act to prohibit public institutions of higher education from requiring applicants to submit standardized college admissions test scores as a part of the admissions process. Provides that the submission of standardized test scores to the institution shall be at the option of the applicant. Effective immediately. HR 568 (Greenwood) urges universities to examine the use of standardized testing in admissions.

  • HB 4064: Assigned to House Higher Education Committee
  • HR 568: House Higher Education Committee Recommends Adoption (14-0-0); House Order of Resolutions

HB 4088 (Batinick) creates the Rewarding Excellence with Higher Education Guaranteed Admissions Act. Under the bill, an applicant will qualify for automatic admission to any baccalaureate program at any Illinois public university if they have, within the past 12 months, received a score on the SAT or on the ACT that is within the top 10% of students nationwide who have taken the test during the immediately preceding 12-month period. The bill lays out additional requirements for automatically admitted students and directs the Board of Higher Education to adopt rules to implement and administer the Act. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4102 (Flowers) requires each public university and community college district to offer subsidized child care services on campus for its students, available on a sliding scale dependent on the student’s income.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4130 (Sosnowski) prohibits the University of Illinois from requiring an individual to meet a minimum income threshold in determining whether the individual is an Illinois resident for tuition purposes. Effective June 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4259 (Ortiz) provides that, as a prerequisite to receiving an undergraduate degree, the governing board of each public university shall require that a student meet with a career adviser of the university at least once during his or her undergraduate education. Effective January 1, 2021.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4526(Stuart) removes the requirement that employees of an Illinois college or university must have been employed for an aggregate period of at least 7 years by one or more Illinois colleges or universities for the children of employees to be eligible for a 50% tuition waiver for undergraduate education. However, it adds the requirement that the school employee be employed by an Illinois college or university at the time of enrollment for the child to be eligible for the waiver; the employee would also have to remain employed by the college or university throughout the duration of the child's enrollment or until the child has expended 4 years of undergraduate partial tuition waiver benefits.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4662 (Burke) requires each public college and university to use its best efforts to hire a veteran of the United States armed forces as the Coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services. It also requires the coordinator to create and maintain a contact list of all veterans attending the public college or university, and it allows them to communicate with student veterans via email or other electronic means. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 4727 (Murphy) would extend eligibility for the MIA/POW Scholarship to the dependents of Purple Heart recipients, as well.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 4879 (Kifowit) requires school districts to provide notice to each high school student (and parent or guardian) about the option to file a waiver, rather than a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the state alternative application, to satisfy high school graduation requirements. Effective June 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to House Elementary & Secondary Education: School Curriculum & Policies Committee

HB 4924 (Wehrli) requires public universities and community colleges to annually submit to the Board of Higher Education or the Illinois Community College Board a plan to expand the use of open educational resources, open textbooks, and commercial digital learning materials in order to achieve savings for students enrolled in the institution of higher education.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5076 (Robinson) would create an IBHE-administered pilot program (January 1, 2021 – January 1, 2026) in which six institutions of higher education would aid students experiencing homelessness and to students who were in the foster care system when they graduated from high school. The participating institutions would provide certain accommodations to these students, could establish plans to develop surplus property for affordable housing to accommodate their needs, and would leverage existing community resources by making available to these students information that is available for individuals experiencing homelessness.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5123 (Keicher) would amend language governing the University of Illinois Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver such that, beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, each county would be entitled to one scholarship annually for the benefit of the children of police officers or fire officers who were killed in the line of duty, as an alternative to the child of a veteran. Of note, these students should be eligible for the existing Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire and Correctional Officers killed or at least 90% permanently disabled in the line of duty.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5130 (Ortiz) would require each public university to report to the IBHE identifying the measures the university has adopted for meeting the needs of immigrant and refugee students seeking integration within a higher education setting.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5191 (Robinson) would create the Intergenerational Poverty Act. Requires the Department of Human Services, subject to appropriations, to establish and maintain a data system to track intergenerational poverty. Requires the data system to have the ability to: (1) identify groups that have a high risk of experiencing intergenerational poverty; (2) identify incidents, patterns, and trends that explain or contribute to intergenerational poverty; and (3) gather and track available local, State, and national data on poverty and child poverty rates and other related information. Requires the Department to perform certain duties, including using the collected data to track intergenerational poverty. Establishes the Interagency Workgroup on Poverty and Economic Insecurity to analyze the collected information and data in order to: (i) understand the root causes of poverty and economic insecurity; (ii) identify children who are at risk of continuing in the cycle of poverty absent intervention; and (iii) implementing data-driven policies and programs that address poverty, education, economic development, and other areas as needed to measurably reduce the incidence of child poverty. Requires the workgroup to issue and publicly post an annual report on actions taken to eliminate poverty and economic insecurity in the State and other matters. Establishes the Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security. Requires the Commission to develop and adopt a strategic plan, no later than November 30, 2020, to address poverty and economic insecurity in the State. Contains provisions concerning the membership on the Commission and reporting requirements. Effective immediately.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5262 (Smith) would appropriate $35 million from the State’s General Revenue Fund to the Board of Higher Education for emergency completion grants and a competitive grant program for public university student support services. (The bill provides only the appropriation; it does not provide details on those programs.) Effective July 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

HB 5264 (Gonzales) requires each public university and community college district to designate a staff member to act as a homeless and foster student liaison to help homeless students and students in foster care apply for financial aid and other assistance.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5320 (Zalewski) would make entities that charge for services related to student loan debt settlement subject to the same restrictions as other "debt settlement providers" under the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act, and it would include student loan borrowers in that Act’s definition of “consumers.” The bill would also require specified notices and disclosures to borrowers in advertising and in information provided before the borrower signs a contract for services with a settlement company, in addition to other changes.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5361 (Robinson) creates the Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act. Provides that before a private educational lender makes a private education loan (which is defined in the bill to include income share agreements) to a student who attends an institution of higher education, the private educational lender must obtain certification from the institution about the student borrower's: (i) enrollment status, (ii) cost of attendance, and (iii) the difference between the cost of attendance and the borrower's estimated financial assistance from all sources. Allows a private educational lender to disburse the funds of a private education loan if the institution of higher education fails to provide the requested certification within 15 business days of the request. Requires the private educational lender to provide notice to the institution that the loan has been disbursed without the certification. Requires a private educational lender to submit annual reports to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and to the Student Loan Ombudsman. Sets forth the requirements that must be included on the loan statement of a private educational loan. Provides that the institution of higher education must inform the student borrower of his or her lending options and whether the student has applied for or exhausted all available sources of federal financial assistance. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5383 (Marron) would establish the workforce education strategic plan committee, staffed by the ICCB, to: (1) study the requirements for awards, grants, or scholarships of federal or State college and career funding programs; (2) review the postsecondary courses of study for which funding may be awarded; (3) determine whether the courses of study for which funding may be awarded include programs that award diplomas, technical certificates, industry recognized certifications, credentials, or degrees, other than a baccalaureate degree, or an apprenticeship program; and (4) submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an annual strategic plan with recommendations related to its findings. Contains provisions relating to committee membership, meetings, and administrative support. As introduced, the bill does not include representation from either the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which administers workforce programming and manages the State’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plan, or ISAC, which administers postsecondary financial aid and pre-collegiate outreach programming. Repeals the provisions on January 1, 2027.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5384 (Keicher) would have IBHE and ICCB establish a structure for ongoing stakeholder meetings between public universities community colleges and “the employer community” to develop “standardized credit-hour privileges for prior learning and to better stabilize the number of credentials issued in Illinois.”

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5424 (Wehrli) would create the Veterans' Licensure and Workforce Task Force to advise the Governor and General Assembly and work directly with State agencies and institutions of higher education to improve and expand policies, services, programs, and opportunities for service members, veterans, and their families. The Task Force would be required to report its findings on specified topics to the General Assembly and the Governor on or before December 1, 2021, and to other specified agencies in electronic form.

  • House Rules Committee

HB 5524 (Welch) establishes a regulatory framework for Income Share Agreements in the state. Along with requirements regarding notices, billing, and resolution of requests for assistance, the bill caps the contractual payment percentage of an agreement at 5% of a borrower's qualified income, caps the term of the income share agreement at 60 months, and bars an income share agreement provider from contracting for a payment cap that exceeds 1.10 times the amount of the advance or from extending an advance that exceeds $5,000. The bill also requires that the participating student first exhaust all sources of federal student loans and state grants for which the borrower is directly eligible before entering into an educational income share agreement.

  • Assigned to House Financial Institutions Committee

HB 5570 (Ortiz) would require the IBHE, on or before July 1, 2021, to create an informational application for phones and tablets, and, in the Board's discretion, other electronic devices. The app would provide information on public institutions of higher education including, but not limited to, admission procedures, website links, and other information as determined by each institution. Each institution would be given access and control of its own content and be responsible for updating its own information.

  • Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HB 5653 (Morgan) creates the Student Loan Forgiveness Homebuyer Program. Provides that subject to appropriation, the Illinois Housing Development Authority shall establish and administer a student loan forgiveness homebuyer program for the purpose of providing financial assistance to a homeowner for purchasing the homeowner's primary residence and making payments on the homeowner's student loan debt. Provides that the Authority shall determine the terms and qualifications for financial assistance under the program, including: (i) that the homebuyer under the program be a first-time homebuyer; and (ii) that the homebuyer under the program have student loan debt from a college, university, vocational school, or other post-secondary educational institution, and that the student loan debt be in the name of the homebuyer. Sets forth certain factors the Authority may consider when determining guidelines for the program. Provides that the Authority may make, participate in making, and undertake a commitment for specified financial assistance to a homebuyer under the program in amounts and types determined by the Authority based on industry standards of similar homebuyers, and in conjunction with other homebuyer programs the Authority administers. Provides that the Authority may purchase or commit to purchase from a lending institution a note, mortgage, or partial interest in a note or mortgage that evidences a residential mortgage loan to a homebuyer for purchasing the homeowner's primary residence in conjunction with obtaining separate financial assistance from the Authority for making payments on the homeowner's student loan debt.

  • Assigned to House Revenue & Finance Committee

Two resolutions, HR 688 (Buckner) and HR 696 (Ammons) call on Congress to take actions to recognize and address student debt as a crisis. The Buckner resolution calls on Congress to work on legislation that will forgive student loans for all current student loan borrowers and prevent future students from “shouldering insurmountable debt.” The Ammons resolution, among other provisions, urges Congress to develop ways to ease the burden of existing debt, asserts the right of states to regulate and license servicers, and urges the development of innovative solutions to resolve student debt held by states, either by state agencies that serve as guarantors for Federal Family Education Loans or student loans that are solely issued by the states. Both resolutions draw attention to racial disparities in levels of debt and rates of default.

  • HR 688: House Higher Education Committee recommends adoption; House Order of Resolutions
  • HR 696: Assigned to House Higher Education Committee

HR 694 (Ammons) urges municipalities and governments to provide free community college education.

  • House Higher Education Committee recommends adoption; House Order of Resolutions

SB 1930 (Manar/K. Burke) would create the Grow Your Own STEM and Vocational Education Teachers Act, and initiative of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. Under the Act, subject to appropriation and beginning July 1, 2020, the Illinois Board of Higher Education would administer a program waiving tuition, fees, and housing at public institutions of higher education for qualifying students who agree to teach a STEM subject, vocational education, or dual credit in Illinois after graduation.

  • Passed Senate 55-0-0.
  • Assigned to House Appropriations - Higher Education Committee

SB 2280 (Tracy) amends language governing the University of Illinois Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver to provide that a county is entitled to a scholarship for the benefit of the children of people who served in the armed forces of the United States until any time on or after August 2, 1990, and until Congress or the President orders that persons in service are no longer eligible for the Kosovo Campaign Medal or the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

SB 2290 (Koehler) requires the Illinois Community College Board to publish (no later than December 1, 2020) online textbooks and supplementary materials, including faculty resources, for the 20 most common courses taught at community colleges for any community college student or faculty member to access free of charge. The ICCB, which would consult with community college faculty members in the development of these online textbooks and materials, would have to ensure that the online textbooks and materials were published and updated, as the Board determined necessary, on an annual basis.

  • Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 2548 (Glowiak Hilton) creates the Higher Education Housing and Opportunities Act to require an institution of higher education (including a business, technical, or vocational school) to designate at least one employee who works within the financial aid department, campus housing services, or any other appropriate office or department, as determined by the institution, to serve as a liaison between the institution and a homeless student or student in care who is enrolled at the institution. The bill sets forth the responsibilities of the liaison, the Board of Higher Education, and the institution and would take effect August 1, 2021.

  • Passed Senate Higher Education Committee. Senate 2nd Reading.

SB 3514 (Sims), like HB 5524 (Welch), establishes a regulatory framework for Income Share Agreements in the state. Along with requirements regarding notices, billing, and resolution of requests for assistance, the bill caps the contractual payment percentage of an agreement at 5% of a borrower's qualified income, caps the term of the income share agreement at 60 months, and bars an income share agreement provider from contracting for a payment cap that exceeds 1.10 times the amount of the advance or from extending an advance that exceeds $5,000. The bill also requires that the participating student first exhaust all sources of federal student loans and state grants for which the borrower is directly eligible before entering into an educational income share agreement.

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

SB 3571 (Aquino), like HB 5320 (Zalewski), would make entities that charge for services related to student loan debt settlement subject to the same restrictions as other "debt settlement providers" under the Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act, and includes student loan borrowers in that Act’s definition of “consumers.” The bill would also require specified notices and disclosures to borrowers in advertising and in information provided before the borrower signs a contract for services with a settlement company, in addition to other changes.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3614 (S. Bennett) would create a Workforce Diploma Pilot Program, administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO), to provide performance payments to approved program providers for eligible students enrolled in an approved program provider's program. Subject to appropriation, DCEO would disburse payments to program providers based on each eligible student's completion or attainment of specified academic outcomes. Repeals the Act on July 1, 2023. Effective July 1, 2020.

  • Assigned to Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee

SB 3637 (Lightford) amends the new Student Investment Account Act to provide that the State Treasurer shall develop and implement a student loan refinancing program. Rather than laying out program parameters specifically, the bill directs the Treasurer’s office to establish criteria and guidelines for the program, governing the eligibility of borrowers who may participate in the program; consumer protections for borrowers in the program; the limitations and scope of the program; and program accountability, including the costs of the program. Notably, the bill does not provide details for any of these items; the Treasurer’s office itself would determine what standards its program needs to meet, what protections are afforded to borrowers, what level of costs for such a program would be appropriate and acceptable, etc. The GA would have an opportunity to review those through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, to the extent that the Treasurer’s office opted to include those in rule-making, but the bill essentially cedes all detailed considerations from the GA to the Treasurer’s Office. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3704 (Rose) directs the IBHE to establish a statewide direct admissions program. The Board would receive the grades of each high school student from district uploads to the Board. Students would receive conditional acceptance to a public university or to a public community college based on his or her grade point average and college entrance examination scores relative to the benchmark grade point average and college entrance examination score set by the Board. Effective January 1, 2022.

  • Senate Committee on Assignments

SB 3718 (Peters) directs the Department of Children and Family Services to ensure that every youth in care who is entering his or her final year of high school has completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, if applicable, or an application for State financial aid on or after October 1, but no later than November 1, of the youth's final year of high school. Requires the Department to assist a youth in care in identifying and obtaining all documents necessary to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, if applicable, or an application for State financial aid.

  • Assigned to Senate Human Services Committee

SB 3770 (Murphy) would create an Illinois College Promise program (administered not by ISAC but by each public university) to provide grants to Illinois resident students who, among other requirements, have an Expected Family Contribution of zero and less than $50,000 in assets, are enrolled for at least 12 hours during the fall or spring semester, graduated from an Illinois high school, and are under 24 and admitted as a new freshman or transfer student. The grant recipient must maintain Illinois residency and satisfactory academic progress and must work at least 10 to 12 hours a week.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3792 (Manar), like HB 5570 (Ortiz), would require the IBHE, on or before July 1, 2021, to create an informational application for phones and tablets, and, in the Board's discretion, other electronic devices. The app would provide information on public institutions of higher education including, but not limited to, admission procedures, website links, and other information as determined by each institution. Each institution would be given access and control of its own content and be responsible for updating its own information.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3843 (McGuire) would amend the P-20 Longitudinal Education Data System Act, changing the Act’s definition of "institution of higher learning" in such a way as to authorize IBHE to collect and maintain student-level data from nonpublic institutions of higher learning.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SB 3844 (McGuire), like HB 5361 (Robinson), creates the Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act. Provides that before a private educational lender makes a private education loan (defined to include income share agreements) to a student who attends an institution of higher education, the private educational lender must obtain certification from the institution about the student borrower's: (i) enrollment status, (ii) cost of attendance, and (iii) the difference between the cost of attendance and the borrower's estimated financial assistance from all sources. Allows a private educational lender to disburse the funds of a private education loan if the institution of higher education fails to provide the requested certification within 15 business days of the request. Requires the private educational lender to provide notice to the institution that the loan has been disbursed without the certification. Requires a private educational lender to submit annual reports to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and to the Student Loan Ombudsman. Sets forth the requirements that must be included on the loan statement of a private educational loan. Provides that the institution of higher education must inform the student borrower of his or her lending options and whether the student has applied for or exhausted all available sources of federal financial assistance. Effective immediately.

  • Assigned to Senate Higher Education Committee

SR 992 (S. Bennett) urges Congress to expand the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program so that it includes farming as an applicable career for loan forgiveness.

  • Senate Order of Resolutions