Quinn has big plans for students


Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers the State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly in the House chambers at the Illinois State Capitol Wednesday in Springfield

By Jackie Nevarez

Gov. Pat Quinn delivered the State of the State Wednesday, an address filled with ambitious promises to lay the foundation for a better Illinois.

His goals, although commendable and attainable, lack crucial elements that would benefit students.

Education was integral to Quinn’s address. He presented his “60 by 2025” goal, which is to have 60 percent of the state’s workforce obtain a college degree or certificate by 2025.

To ensure this goal is reached, Quinn hopes to double MAP grants, which he said help more than 140,000 students go to college.

It seems like this goal is reasonable, but it will take much more than doubling scholarships for people to attend school.

With the debt that is sure to hit a majority of students at graduation, a simple goal to double scholarships is not enough. The rising cost of higher education is still an issue that needs to be faced and corrected. But, there is a plan that will slightly help pay for higher education.

Students can look forward to better wages in the workforce. Quinn mentioned raising the minimum wage, a pressing issue for workers who are barely getting by on $8.25 an hour. His goal is to raise it to at least $10 an hour.

This is good news to students who are already working, as that extra bump to the minimum wage can mean borrowing less on a loan or something other than noodles for dinner.

The economy isn’t necessarily booming; a minimum wage job for the summer or after graduation sounds at least temporarily satisfying.

Unfortunately, finding that job may take a while for students who hope to graduate soon. Research by Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization, shows Illinois is ranked at 50 of 50 states for projected job growth in 2014.

If Quinn follows through with his promises, Illinois will be looking at the comeback he desires.