How many students would this apply to?
The University of Illinois at Chicago estimates that the Student ACCESS Bill would provide new scholarship opportunities for roughly 1,500 students across all 4-year public universities in Illinois.
How do you know there are 1,500 undocumented students at four year public universities?
Administrators from UIC reached out to each 4-year public university to acquire this information.
Won't this bill negatively impact students who are U.S. citizens? Will this bill create more competition for scarce resources for students who are U.S. citizens?
Thank you for asking these questions. There are approximately 144,000 students enrolled in IL 9 public universities. The University of Illinois at Chicago estimates that there are 1,500 undocumented students enrolled in our public universities. They account for only 1% of enrollment at those institutions. It is important to understand the scale of how this legislation would affect students in universities across the state.
These students already competed with each other to gain admittance to the university, they compete against each other every day in the classroom and with this bill they'd have an opportunity to compete with them for scholarship opportunities. Students who are citizens are already competing with 99 percent of their peers for institutional aid, this legislation would ass the remaining 1 percent to the mix. This legislation is not going to upend opportunities for our U.S. citizen students.
There are U.S. citizen students supporting this legislation on every campus. Many of them have been at the Capitol in past sessions and in the session to advocate for the bill. They understand that their friends and classmates deserve the same opportunities that they do, regardless of their citizenship status.
Moreover, our universities don't see it this way. Every single 4-year public university in Illinois supports this legislation. They want the local control to support their already enrolled and admitted students.
Lastly, it's also worth noting that U.S. citizens are afforded a lot more opportunities for scholarships and financial aid, both public and private, on account of their citizenship status. As a matter of fact, undocumented students are currently ineligible to apply for federal student aid, Pell grants, Illinois' MAP grant and other forms of state-based financial aid.
Didn't the state already pass legislation providing financial aid opportunities for undocumented students? Doesn't the Illinois Dream Fund provide financial aid?
Undocumented students currently have access to in-state tuition and they may apply for scholarships provided by the privately funded Illinois Dream Fund, which was created in 2011.
In 2014, 1,720 students applied for a scholarship through the Illinois Dream Fund. However, the Illinois Dream Fund was only able to award 26 students a scholarship ranging from $2,000-$6,000. Over the last three years, the program has only been able to assist 2% of applicants due to insufficient private resources.
What role does the Illinois Board of Higher Education have in working with universities to decide how to structure the proposed changes in law?
None. While the Illinois Board of Higher Education supports this legislation, it has stated in committee that the administration of this law rests with the universities themselves. IBHE would have no role.
How can the state provide financial aid to undocumented students when it doesn't have any money to pay universities?
The legislation does not place an unnecessary burden on universities. It provides them with the local control to determine how to support every student enrolled on their campus.
Why should I support the Student ACCESS Bill?
Many college students depend on some form of financial aid in order to complete their education. Students who work long hours or multiple jobs find it harder to succeed and complete their degrees. The state has already invested considerable resources in the primary and secondary education of undocumented students. Providing access to financial aid will help students complete their degrees, enter the workforce and ensure Illinois secures a return on its investment.