Higher education bills pass through senate committee

By Katie O'Connell

The Illinois Senate Higher Education committee unanimously passed bills concerning in-state tuition for military personnel and admittance of state scholars during their session Wednesday.

HB5905, which guarantees in-state tuition for active duty military personnel reassigned to an out-of-state post or to a different country, was unanimously passed by the House on April 16.

State Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, said the bill did not encounter significant debate in the committee.

“Most on the committee thought it was important for people who choose to serve their country to have the same rights as people who go directly to college from high school,” Frerichs said.

Frerichs also said any financial burden placed on Illinois universities or the government would be similar to what they already have.

If passed, the bill would take effect in the 2009-2010 academic year.

HB 4567, a bill requiring the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to study the number of Illinois State Scholars that are admitted to in-state, public Universities, also passed with minimal discussion.

“No one presented a good reason to vote against it,” Frerichs said.

The bill is aimed at studying the percent of Illinois State Scholars that apply to Illinois public universities versus the number that are admitted.

Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview and co-sponsor of the bill, noted that it is not aimed at changing admittance practices.

“Having information available is a good thing,” Frerichs said. “Transparency allows people to find faults with information.”