By Emilee Fannon | firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 09/15 2016 01:58PM
Updated 09/15 2016 01:58PM
Copyright 2016 Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
ILLINOIS — A free college degree is something which has been talked about on the national level. But, what about on the state level?
One lawmaker is bringing up the discussion to allow in-state students to go to a university or community college at no cost.
College students are leaving to get their educations elsewhere at a rapid pace. According to the US Department of Education, more than 16,000 left Illinois for schools in other states last year.
"Right now, there are a lot of issues going on with the Illinois state schools, especially with MAP Grants and all that stuff, so you might as well go out of state and spend a little bit more money than what you spend in state."
So, how do you keep kids here? The idea is called Tuition Free Illinois. It would allow in-state students to get an education at no cost.
Some say it’s a great way to build up the state’s reputation.
"What our universities can offer, no other universities can. And, part of that is affordability, saying you can attend these universities and get great resources, opportunities at an affordable price."
Most students are for not paying thousands of dollars for a college degree, but some faculty members have their doubts.
"When we are now spending about $5 billion or more than we are getting into the treasury, you have to question affordability."
The idea is just in its beginning stages, but Representative Will Guzzardi (D) says implementing a progressive income tax rate is one way to raise money.
"It’s really important for the economic base of the state, the business climate and so forth. That we have a strong, higher education system is critically important."
Another idea is to remove tax breaks big corporations have been getting for years and eliminating the ones which are not necessary anymore.
"It’s an important conversation starter because, overall, students are concerned about how they’re going to afford college."
While UI announced its largest freshmen class in history, other universities statewide are facing steep enrollment declines.
Eastern Illinois saw its biggest drop in freshmen enrollment of about 25%. Southern Illinois University wasn’t far behind with 23%.
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September 15, 2016 at 06:58AM