ISSC funding bill held for revision

By Sandi Patyk

SPRINGFIELD—A bill that would give the Illinois State Scholarship Commission supplemental funding to offset the effect of the $150 tuition increase was held in committee yesterday and did not appear before the Illinois Senate.

A spokesman for the senate bill office said, “Senate Bill 1525 is being reviewed and changed in a rules committee, and I don’t know how long that will take. Higher education is important to the legislators, so I think the bill will go through the committee quickly.”

Sen. Patrick Welch, D-Peru, said he did not know when the bill would be ready for a vote. He said he was unable to predict how the other senators would vote when the bill reached the senate floor.

“I don’t know what will happen (to the bill) since it’s being amended now. It’s being changed so the wording will be acceptable to as many senators as possible,” Welch said.

Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said supplemental funding for the ISSC would help mostly students who receive financial aid. If the ISSC receives supplemental funding, students would not have to pay the additional cost of the spring tuition increase, Groves said.

Money collected from the spring tuition increase would be included in the supplement. The bill requires the tuition money to be given back to the universities instead of put into the General Revenue Fund.

The fund currently has about $20 million to $40 million, which is to be divided between various state agencies, said Illinois Student Association President David Starrett. About $3.1 million is needed to offset the tuition increase, he said.

“If the supplemental increase doesn’t pass it will be a long time before universities raise tuition again, because they (the administrators) will see they can’t get that money back from the General Revenue Fund,” Starrett said.