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The Student ACCESS Bill will provide legal authority to 4-year public universities in Illinois to provide financial aid to undocumented students who enroll at their institutions.  

Undocumented students are currently ineligible to receive federal student aid, Pell grants, Illinois MAP Grants and other forms of state-based financial aid. However, federal law allows individual state legislatures to offer undocumented students eligibility for state financial aid. Passage of the Student ACCESS Bill would allow 4-year public universities to offer financial aid to every student enrolled at their institution on a competitive basis. The legislation will not, however, make undocumented students eligible to apply for the MAP Grant.

 

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The Student ACCESS Bill is revenue neutral!

What is the fiscal impact of this bill?

None. The legislation does not have a fiscal impact because it does not require the state to appropriate additional resources for higher education or increase spending for state-funded scholarship programs. The bill simply provides 4-year public universities the legal authority to offer financial aid to undocumented students. The legislation does not create an entitlement, a new state scholarship program or provide undocumented students with a competitive advantage when applying for financial aid.

Does this measure involve federal funds?

No. Undocumented students are ineligible for federal grants, loans, and other financial assistance as a matter of federal law. This bar extends to undocumented youth who had been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) before its rescission on September 5, 2017, which shields them from deportation for two years but does not confer lawful status.

Can't universities already provide financial assistance to undocumented students? 

No. Universities are barred by federal law from extending such assistance without state legislative authorization. The Student ACCESS bill would provide such authorization. State universities may, however, offer scholarships to undocumented students that are funded by private gift dollars.