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DeKALB — Over 250 new laws went into effect in Illinois at the start of the new year, some of which impact higher education in Illinois.

Retention of Illinois Students and Equity Act

HB 2691 allows transgender and undocumented students to be eligible for financial aid from the state as long as they are Illinois residents. Transgender and undocumented students were previously not eligible to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program.

Originally, transgender students were deemed ineligible for federal aid if they did not register for the Selective Service, which requires all men age 18 to 25 to register for a military draft, according to the act. Undocumented students were ineligible if they weren’t a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.

Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act

SB 1 increased the minimum wage in Illinois from $8.25 to $9.25. The minimum wage should be $15 by 2025, according to the act.

The last increase in the minimum wage was from $8 to $8.25 in 2010.

Public University Uniform Admission Act

HB 26 requires each public university in Illinois, including NIU, to automatically admit high school student applicants with a grade point average in the top 10% of their graduating class.

The student must graduate from an accredited public or private high school in the state or from a high school operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the act.

Various amendments

HB 3404 made amendments that require universities to make its information regarding mental health and suicide prevention available to its students starting the 2020-2021 academic school year.

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