JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

ISAC in the News

November 22, 2019 - Looking for solutions to a black exodus in Illinois higher education - Millions of dollars are flowing into campus renovations, financial aid and student programs aimed at attracting, shoring up and retaining black students. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

November 15, 2019 - Gov. Pritzker appointments local school counselor to Illinois Student Assistance Commission - Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that Franciene Sabens will serve on the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

November 8, 2019 - Bill to get Illinois teachers additional MAP grant aid before certification could become political heavyweight bout - A proposal that would give teachers still in college an additional year of state aid in exchange for committing to teach in Illinois for three years is scheduled for what could be a contentious hearing.

October 30, 2019 - Only 67% of Illinois high school seniors file for federal aid. That needs to change. - Let’s make sure everyone knows the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is free, leads to millions of dollars in financial assistance, makes college possible, and that help to complete it is available to anyone. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

October 26, 2019 - Here's How NIU Plans to Pay for New First-Year Free Tuition Program - Our sister station WLBK reports that NIU has $1 million in state funding to be able to offer eligible freshmen free tuition next year.

October 16, 2019 - Illinois college aid would hit record under Pritzker plan: The governor has proposed allocating more money to student financial help for higher education than at any point in the state's history. - Gov. J.B. Pritzker aims to make more state financial aid available to Illinois college-bound students than at any other time since the current program for such grants was created in 1967. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

October 9, 2019 - Here’s Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-year plan to revitalize Illinois’ economy - Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday released a five-year plan for the Illinois economy that includes an emphasis on providing better “customer service” to businesses, improving workforce development and strengthening key industries. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

October 7, 2019 - Illinois Commission Offers Free College Readiness Help - State officials say free workshops and support for students seeking financial aid for college is available throughout the fall starting this month.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission will host workshops for students and their families to provide assistance in filling out college applications and financial aid eligibility paperwork.

October 3, 2019 - October is College Changes Everything Month - The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is holding its fourth annual "College Changes Everything" month.
The campaign consists of workshops around the state covering college admissions and applying for financial aid.

October 2, 2019 - The 2020 FAFSA is out: Here’s what you need to know about applying for college financial aid - You’re narrowing down your list of colleges. Maybe you’ve even picked a major. If you’re an Illinoisan aiming to start school in 2020, now it’s time to tackle the money part. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

October 1, 2019 - 5,000 Students Use Aid Meant to Keep Illinois College Students In State - Nearly 5,000 students enrolled at an Illinois public university this fall using a new academic scholarship meant to keep more students in state for college, though far more were offered the grants, according to data provided by public universities to WBEZ.

September 25, 2019 - Enrollment Exodus: Gaps In Latinx Degree Attainment Persist - Community college enrollment has dropped significantly for nearly every ethnic group in the state, while Latinx enrollment has remained relatively steady during that time period.

September 13, 2019 - Illinois college enrollment numbers are out. Two schools broke their all-time records this year — again - College enrollment has dropped for years in Illinois, from a high of more than 930,000 students in 2010 to just under 768,000 in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

September 10, 2019 - College access and financial aid support is available free to all Illinoisans - In the wake of the recent guardianship-swapping scandal, we want to note what's being done to prevent this abuse from ever happening again. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

September 6, 2019 - Reports raise concern about financial aid system loophole - A new reported loophole in the federal financial aid process is raising concerns about fairness.

According to multiple reports, some parents from Illinois are giving up guardianship of their child before they go to college. It gives the student “independent status,” which can help them qualify for more student debt since their parents’ income isn’t considered.

August 30, 2019 - Gov. Pritzker Announces Four Appointments to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission - Building on a strong team of diverse experts in their fields, Governor JB Pritzker announced the following appointments in his administration

August 21, 2019 - Parents Gave Up Custody of Their Children to Help Them Get Financial Aid. Now, Some Are Abandoning That Idea. - Some families are frustrated about a public backlash, saying what they did was legal. They say the real problem is the cost of higher education.

August 20, 2019 - University of Illinois launches new program to help increase in-state enrollment - The University of Illinois' Chancellor, Dr. Robert Jones talks to the WGN Morning News about a new financial aid program called, Illinois Commitment. The program helps to cover tuition and fees for low-income students.

August 12, 2019 - It's Time To Require Completion Of The FAFSA For High School Graduation - Three states have now passed legislation requiring their high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Louisiana was the first, starting its requirement for the 2017-18 academic year. It was followed by Texas and then Illinois, both adding the requirement this year.

August 9, 2019 - Suburban reps talk immediate needs, long-term fixes for student debt - Local U.S representatives, leaders of both public and private college institutions, and concerned parents and students gathered at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove Aug. 5 to discuss a theme affecting them all — crippling student debt.

August 8, 2019 - Illinois lawmakers on financial aid loophole: ‘A system that drives families to cheat is a broken system’ - Public university officials are urging against “overcorrecting” as state legislators look into reports that suburban Chicago families exploited a loophole in state law to get their children college financial aid for which they would not otherwise qualify. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

August 8, 2019 - Is guardianship swapping widespread? Universities say no. - Illinois legislators gathered for a hearing on trying to close a loophole that allowed some to win more financial aid for college. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

August 8, 2019 - When Illinois Students Leave The State For College, Who Reaps The Rewards? - A few years ago, when he was going to Yorkville High School, Matt Pitstick saw college recruiters roaming his school who surprised him and made his friends laugh. They were recruiters from a university more than 700 miles away: the University of Alabama.

August 8, 2019 - At Hearing on Financial Aid Scandal, Lawmakers Grill Officials and Look to Close a Loophole - Illinois politicians considered denying admission to students whose families exploited the guardianship law to qualify for aid they wouldn’t otherwise receive, saying it was an “injustice.”

August 7, 2019 - In wake of financial aid flap, Springfield eyes clampdown - At a hearing tomorrow, lawmakers will consider regulating college consultants for the first time. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

August 6, 2019 - New Law Will Require Illinois Students To Apply For Financial Aid - Illinois is now the third state to require graduating high school seniors fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, otherwise known as the FAFSA form.

August 1, 2019 - Financial aid fraud is wrong — but overcorrection could hurt more students - Here we go again. Families guided by a private college adviser have found another way to game the system to benefit their students by paying less for college than they should.

August 1, 2019 - Illinois Lawmakers Call Hearing to “Demand Answers” and Find Ways to Close a Loophole in College Financial Aid Scandal - Legislators said parents who turn over guardianship of their children to get financial aid engaged in a “manipulative practice.” They’re exploring whether they can subpoena parents to testify.

August 1, 2019 - UI withdrew its financial aid from 4 students suspected to be involved in guardianship 'scam' - A college financial-aid administrator says well-to-do students from suburban Chicago have tried for at least three years to use a guardianship loophole to qualify for financial aid intended for needy students.

July 31, 2019 - How college financial aid scams impact low-income students: ‘There’s only so much to go around’ - Just months after the so-called “Varsity Blues” scandal, in which it was revealed that wealthy parents paid roughly $25 million to help their children gain admission to elite colleges and universities like Yale and Stanford, a new way wealthy families are manipulating the college admission process has come to light.

July 30, 2019 - Parents transferring custody to get better college financial aid? ‘It never occurred to us that this was a possibility.’ - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stepped up scrutiny of some applications last year after discovering that Chicago-area parents were relinquishing custody of their children in their junior or senior year of high school, qualifying them for more financial aid than they otherwise would have received.(A subscription may be required to view this article.)

July 30, 2019 - U.S. Department of Education Wants to Stop “Student Aid Fraud Scheme” Where Parents Give Up Custody Through Dubious Guardianships - One day after our reporting, the department’s inspector general said it wants to close financial aid loopholes.

July 29, 2019 - Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid - First, parents turn over guardianship of their teenagers to a friend or relative. Then the student declares financial independence to qualify for tuition aid and scholarships.

July 18, 2019 - New Report Finds Stark Inequity in Chicago Higher Education - None of the Chicago-area four-year public universities, as of 2016, has been able to graduate more than half of their Black and Latinx students.

July 16, 2019 - What Illinois Offers Undocumented Immigrants - Even as President Donald Trump cracks down on immigration, Illinois is going in the opposite direction, with both Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot going out of their way to proclaim the state and city as welcoming to immigrants.

July 1, 2019 - Illinois higher education official hopes new funding will stem tide of student outmigration - The interim director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education is hopeful a combination of added infrastructure and operations funding for state universities and colleges will help entice Illinois students to remain in the state for their college education.

June 25, 2019 - More Money, More MAP Grants - Low-income college students in Illinois got some good news today. The state's Monetary Award Program — which provides MAP grants to help pay for tuition — will be able to give more grants with more money, thanks to the largest appropriation in the fund’s history.

June 24, 2019 - Pritzker signs trio of bills that aim to protect undocumented immigrants - …And he signed House Bill 2691, giving students who are undocumented immigrants but who meet all other academic and financial qualifications access to state-funded student financial aid, including the state's Monetary Award Program, or MAP, grants.

June 20, 2019 - Bill Seeks To Work On College Student Hunger - Legislation adopted this spring aims to chip away at the growing problem of college student hunger in Illinois.

June 20, 2019 - Budget Increase for Higher Education - Higher education officials are relieved to see a budget increase for next year, plus a new capital program for repairs and new construction.

June 19, 2019 - How much money are Illinois colleges getting in the new budget? ‘It’s definitely good news for colleges and universities.’ - Illinois’ public universities and community colleges are getting an increase in state funding not seen in nearly three decades. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

June 13, 2019 - Four bills Gov. Pritzker can sign immediately to protect immigrant rights - Some of these bills have been in the works for years. Others have emerged more recently as President Trump has ratcheted up anti-immigrant fervor.

May 17, 2019 - Bill before Gov. J.B. Pritzker would broaden access to state education grants for low-income students - Transgender students who are disqualified from receiving federal financial aid and those who are in the U.S. without proper documentation would be eligible for state education grants under a bill before Gov. J.B. Pritzker. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

May 9, 2019 - Bill allowing undocumented immigrants to access student financial aid goes to governor: Bill also applies to transgender people who have not registered for the draft - The Illinois Senate on Wednesday passed and sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to receive state-funded student financial aid to attend college.

May 1, 2019 - RISE Act Lifts Hopes For Student Aid - Witness slips and committee hearings are on the minds of some Northern Illinois University organizers who are watching the RISE Act, or the Retention of Illinois Students Act, move through the state Senate this week.

April 30, 2019 - Bertino-Tarrant backs plan to end teacher shortage in Illinois - State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, is supporting legislation intended to aid a new generation of teaching students and address the shortage of teachers across the state.

April 25, 2019 - Proposal to Wipe Out Student Loan Debt Ignites Conversation - An ever-growing number of Americans have it and perhaps for some, it may feel like it will never go away: student debt.
So it's no surprise presidential candidates are tackling the issue with proposals that would address the looming student loan crisis. Of those proposals, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to wipe out some student loans caused quite a stir Monday.

April 13, 2019 - Illinois university students support bold actions to renew the Prairie State - …Thirty-five students from nine Illinois colleges and universities — both public and private — attended our inaugural summit, “Renewing Illinois: Ambitious Dreams and Practical Steps to Revive the Prairie State.”…

April 11, 2019 - SIU hardest hit by long-term state cutback in veterans education funding - Each spring, the leaders of Illinois’ public universities travel to Springfield to advocate for their schools with the legislators crafting the state’s budget.
Under new Gov. J.B. Pritzker, that exercise has taken a more hopeful tone, as Pritzker has pushed for healthy increases to university funding and more Illinois MAP grants for students with demonstrated financial need.

April 7, 2019 - 'What's best for you': B-N high schools expand opportunities for college, career - High school students in Bloomington-Normal and across Illinois will soon be asked to start early when making the choices that will take them beyond graduation.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the state has the goal of 90 percent or more of students graduating from high school ready for college and a career by 2032.

April 4, 2019 - Higher education advocates find new optimism at Illinois Capitol - There was much ado about higher education in the Illinois Capitol Thursday, as lawmakers discussed funding increases for higher education, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill to strengthen a financial aid program and higher education advocates rallied on the Capitol rotunda.

April 4, 2019 - Lawmakers propose bills for education reform - Three state lawmakers, including Senator Omar Aquino, Senator Ann Gillespie and Representative Emanuel Welch, introduced a series of proposals aimed at higher education.
These bills would close college attainment gaps, make college more affordable and expand access to mental health treatment.

March 12, 2019 - Illinois losing even more high school graduates to out-of-state colleges - For years, Illinois colleges and universities have tried to find new ways to attract more high school graduates from within the state, while young people increasingly are choosing to pursue their degrees elsewhere. (A subscription may be required to view this article.)

March 3, 2019 - State Rep. Keicher proposes MAP grants bill addressing teacher shortage - For those who want to go back to school after receiving a bachelor’s degree to get a teaching certificate, one state lawmaker salutes you with a new proposed Monetary Award Program grant bill.

February 21, 2019 - Governor Wants More Money For Education - In his budget address today, Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed education as one of his top three priorities, requesting increased funding for programs across the educational spectrum, from babies to grade school to colleges and universities.

February 14, 2019 - 7 Higher Education Bills To Watch In Illinois - A flurry of bills affecting higher education have been introduced in Springfield this year. A recurring theme: stopping the so-called brain drain of Illinois’ best and brightest to universities outside Illinois. That’s an issue newly sworn-in Gov. JB Pritzker ran on.

January 29, 2019 - State Rep. Carol Ammons Wants More State Funding For Illinois Higher Ed - State Representative Carol Ammons wants to provide more state funding to Illinois universities and colleges. Ammons was recently appointed chair of the state's Higher Education Committee.

January 28, 2019 - New Student Loan Program Gives Yearly Estimates Of Debt - Garrett Wise graduated from Northern Illinois University just over three years ago. As he strode across the stage and collected his Bachelor's degree in applied physics, he knew that, like most students, he accumulated student loan debt. He just didn't know how bad it was.

January 10, 2019 - J.B. Pritzker Interview — On Criminal Justice, Higher Ed, Taxes, And Legislative Ethics - J.B. Pritzker is set to become the 43rd governor of Illinois on Monday. He won in part by promising to make college more affordable, improve the state’s finances, and reform the criminal justice system.

January 10, 2019 - The Pritzker Agenda - Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker takes office next week on the heels of the most decisive election victory in a generation. And he’ll be working to pass his agenda through the biggest Democratic majorities in the General Assembly since the 1960s.

January 9, 2019 - Legislators make fix to fund use limits in scholarship bill - Illinois lawmakers have modified a new college scholarship program to give public universities more flexibility in how they spend the state's portion of the funding.