Making College Affordable for Illinois Families

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise at Illinois state universities, college students are being lured to out-of-state schools with lower tuition rates.

Illinois' state universities feel the need to increase their tuition and fees to supplement the loss of revenue caused by past state budget cuts that started with the Blagojevich administration. The result has been a drop in student enrollment at 8 of Illinois 12 public universities. The brain drain is real and will only get worse if we don't act now to help Illinois students and their families with the cost of quality education, right here in Illinois.

The House Republicans have a solution. This week, several members joined House Republican Leader Tom Cross in unveiling a legislative package designed to make college more affordable for Illinois families.

The College Affordability plan provides for a tax credit and a tax deduction that together will result in real savings for Illinois families and at the same time keep the best and the brightest right here in Illinois. 

Details of College Affordability Plan
The plan would create a $1000 tax credit to help middle class families pay for college expenses at an Illinois accredited school. The credit would accrue for each semester that the eligible student is supported by the eligible taxpayer. To be eligible for the credit, the family or the student must have the following status:  attend a MAP-approved Illinois institution on at least a half-time basis with tuition and fees greater than $1000, be an Illinois resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, and the family must have an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. Those already receiving Illinois MAP grants would not be eligible.

This package will also include legislation that will “unlock” the limited tax deduction rights currently granted to Illinoisans who are saving for their children’s college education.  Under current Illinois law, this “upfront” deduction is only offered to contributors in state administered College Savings Pool account or the Illinois Prepaid Tuition Trust Fund.  Right now, private-sector 529 programs, including programs operated by respected financial institutions that are based outside of Illinois, are not eligible for this upfront deduction.

As a result, many prudent Illinois families who are participating in a 529 program and saving for the future are not eligible under current Illinois law for this upfront Illinois individual income tax deduction.

House Republicans proposal will make this upfront Illinois individual income tax deduction accessible to all families who are saving money under the umbrella of an approved 529 savings program for up to $10,000 of annual contributions made by a taxpayer.

More info:
Where does your freshman class come from?
The University of Chicagoland at Missouri
House Republicans Unveil College Affordability Plan