Illinois House approves bill making AIM HIGH college grant program permanent

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — The Illinois House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to make the popular AIM HIGH grant pilot program permanent for college students.

This grant was specifically designed to help Illinois keep the “best and brightest” high school students in the state after years of declining enrollment when many of those students chose colleges in other states that offer attractive merit based scholarships. 

Sponsors said many students from middle class families do not qualify for MAP and Pell grants, but they still deserve an opportunity to receive financial aid.

“There are people that have teachers as parents. They earn a decent living but by far not enough,” said Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville). “And they certainly can’t pay for college out of pocket. We want to keep those students here.”

House Bill 301 states that public universities should allow qualified full-time undergraduate students to apply for AIM HIGH grants. However, universities could also allow part-time undergraduate students to apply for the grant as they enroll in their final semester.

“We have given the opportunity through the assistance that AIM HIGH has offered for the ability for those in need, who are most desperately in need, to get through their college experience,” said Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore). “We’ve given them a chance to do that.”

The plan now heads to the Senate for further consideration. Sponsors hope the measure can pass out of the Senate before the scheduled adjournment on Friday.

Illinois could make a popular merit-based grant pilot program permanent to help more students go to state public universities. 

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May 17, 2023 at 08:57PM

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