• Policy Recommendations – Affordability

    Policy Recommendations – Affordability

Improve time to degree

  • Each additional year a student is enrolled in college is another year of lost earnings, taxpayers’ subsidies, and added institutional fees. Plus, the longer it takes a student to earn a degree, the less likely they are to graduate at all. We can improve our students’ time-to-degree by addressing barriers to on-time completion and implementing student-centered policies at the state and institutional level.
  • Limit most associate and bachelor’s degree programs to 60 and 120 credit hours, respectively.

  • Incentivize full-time students to enroll in 30 credit hours per calendar year.

  • Improve access and availability of dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities for low-income students and students of color.

  • Ensure earned credits are universally accepted across the P-20 spectrum.

Provide access to need-based grants to all low-income student

  • Historically, the Monetary Award Program (MAP), Illinois’ need-based financial aid program, offset high tuition costs for eligible students. Today however, MAP serves only 42% of all eligible students and grants cover only 32% of the cost of attending a public university. Since MAP increases students access to and persistence through college, MAP can be a significant lever for helping Illinois meet its workforce demands and improve equity in college degree attainment.  
  • Ensure 100% of MAP-eligible students who apply receive enough MAP funding to offset all tuition and fees not covered by Pell Grants.

  • Open access to MAP grants to Illinois’ undocumented students.

  • Encourage institutions to prioritize need-based (vs. merit-based) institutional grants first.

Ensure students basic needs are met

  • Institutions across the state are making efforts to increase supports and resources for food and housing insecure students but these and other evidence-based programs must be fully funded and scaled to support all students facing food and housing insecurity.
  • Increase access to and availability of emergency funds and financial assistance for non-tuition-based costs and fees for low-income students.

  • Encourage institutions to proactively identify students who are eligible for need-based assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and provide application assistance.

  • Develop affordable food and housing options for all students, but particularly those facing housing and food insecurity.

Provide adequate and stable funding to two-year and four-year institutions

  • To support student success and improve college completion for all students, the state must adequately fund our colleges and universities. Currently, Illinois does not have a predictable funding formula for allocating funds to our institutions. This results in inconsistent and unpredictable funding for our institutions and ultimately, prevents our students and families from planning for the true cost of college.
  • Adopt an equity-driven higher education funding formula to allocate state resources predictably and efficiently.

  • Support increased investments in higher education.

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