ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Governor Pritzker signed several bills Monday afternoon that promote equal opportunities and expand opportunities for higher education institutions across the Prairie State.
He signed three things; Senate Act 1085, Senate Act 815, and House Act 3359, which protect all prospective college students and their families from predatory college planning firms, encourage government funding for higher education, and ensure personal tutors can take courses with students with disabilities, free of charge.
“With the laws I sign today, Illinois will continue to lead the nation in providing students with more equitable access to higher education opportunities,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This is not only a benefit for our students and their families, but also a benefit for the future of our entire state. Making college more affordable and accessible while helping Illinois maintain its award as a Top Source for Talent and Innovation will fuel our economy and create jobs across our state. “
SB 1085 aims to protect families in the college planning process by creating the Consumer Protection Act for Education Planning Services. The law provides additional safeguards to ensure that the families of prospective college students are not being exploited by predatory, for-profit college planning firms.
The law sets conditions that must be included in an educational planning services contract, and any contract that is inconsistent with the law will be voided. The contractual obligations include certain disclosures, such as B. Contact information of the consumer and the service provider.
It will also increase equity for all families, if a college planning provider speaks a language other than English then the provider will have to translate all necessary information and documents. In addition, this bill prohibits university planning providers from charging enrollment or maintenance fees.
“As the state college access and financial aid agency, we want to ensure that all students and families have access to the college planning services they need and deserve,” said Eric Zarnikow, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). “This consumer protection measure will help ensure that families are not caught up in long-term robbery contracts for educational planning services such as college search and grant application assistance, and that they know that similar services are available free of charge from a student’s school, a library, ISAC or a Variety of principled organizations. “
“For more than twenty years I have worked with families seeking help after they have already paid or signed contracts with companies that charge a premium for either no service or free services from reputable organizations,” said Jacqueline Monreno, ISAC managing director for College Access and Outreach. “As college becomes more expensive, these organizations have proliferated and depend on the neediest undergraduate and first generation college students. The Segura Act finally offers protection and resources for families. “
“This measure draws in bad actors who exploit low-income students and first-generation students,” said State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago). “Families must be able to get out of fraudulent, long-term contracts when these services are offered free of charge by the state.”
“The transparency created by this law is a breath of fresh air for those in communities that have been prayed for for generations by unscrupulous educational planning services,” said State Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago). “To make the American dream come true, far too many Illinoisans, especially first generation Americans and low-income communities, were sold a bill of materials that will hold them back with extraordinary debt for the rest of their lives. Illinois has become a pioneer in protecting our citizens from these actors and their bad practices. “
SB 1085 comes into force on January 1, 2022.
This bill aims to create an equity-based funding model for allocating government funds to public universities, thereby creating the Commission on Equitable Funding of Public Universities. The commission will evaluate existing funding methods while recommending specific data-driven approaches to the General Assembly to fund Illinois public universities more equitably.
The 30-person commission is jointly chaired by four people: one appointed by the House Speaker and President of the Senate, one by the Chairman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE), and one by the Governor. While members of the commission serve without compensation, IBHE will provide administrative support. By July 1, 2023, the Commission will publish the results and recommendations publicly on the IBHE website.
“This legislation will ensure that funding for Illinois public universities is on equity and that institutions have the resources they need to address equity gaps, both core strategies of IBHE’s new strategic plan, A Thriving Illinois,” said Executive Director Ginger Ostro. “We thank the governor and sponsors for setting up this commission. Illinois’ economic future and educational equity are inextricably linked. Our financing systems have to recognize and strengthen this. “
“Universities and colleges that serve members of disadvantaged communities need fair funding to serve their students and undo the damage caused by historical and systemic racism,” said Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) . “I am pleased that this law comes into force.”
“I am honored to have led the work on SB815, which will help advance a new funding model for higher education across the state of Illinois,” said State Representative Carol Ammons of D-Urbana. “The ultimate goal is to explore ways to better fund our public universities with an equity-centered perspective. It is a clear next step in the development of a just and adequate education system and I am grateful for Governor Pritzker’s signature on this landmark law. “
This bill aims to ensure that all students have access to quality education. HB 3359 enables a student’s personal supervisor (PSW) to attend class with the student. Legislation also prevents IBHE from charging PSW tuition or class attendance fees.
PSWs can help in situations like a child or an adult with disabilities. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) defines a PSW as someone who can assist individuals with activities of daily living, supervising, or teaching skills that promote safety and wellbeing.
“Thanks to the governor and sponsors of HB 3359, this legislation enables students with disabilities the support they need in the classroom and enables an educational environment where students and adults can thrive in a thoughtful, collaborative and truly inclusive experience. Said Grace B. Hou, secretary for the Illinois Department of Human Services.
“I am honored to be the main sponsor of this bipartisan law and to have it enacted by the governor,” said State Representative Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich). “When I became aware of the situation of a voter in my district, I was honestly shocked. The fact that not one but two public adult education centers prevented a student with developmental disabilities from taking his supervisor with him to class made no sense. Today we’re making sure this doesn’t happen again in Illinois and making sure all students have access to the support they may need to be successful in class. “
“Unfortunately, there is still discrimination against the disabled today, which is why this legislation is so important,” said Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods). “This sad reality is for me personally as this discrimination happened to a voter who was denied an education because of his disability, which requires a support worker to assist. Unfortunately, this young man was turned away from two local colleges for not allowing his supervisor to sit in class with him unless the supervisor also paid tuition fees. That is simply wrong. Discrimination has absolutely no place in our higher education system. Everyone should have the opportunity to continue their education regardless of their disability. This new law is a step in advancing the rights of people with disabilities here in Illinois. I hope that no other disabled person will suffer in the same way now. “
HB 3359 is effective immediately.
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