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SPRINGFIELD – The burdensome costs of textbooks and course materials for college students often deters them from making the purchase, which in turn can cause a learning barrier and hinder a student’s grades. Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus outlined a plan during a press conference Wednesday to break down those barriers.

Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is leading a measure – Senate Bill 819 – to allow students who receive MAP Grants to use the funds for room and board, as well as coursework materials including books, software and website access. Currently, MAP Grants can only be used for tuition and necessary fee costs.

“While there are initiatives that ease the financial burden of higher education, there are many essentials to university success, such as textbooks, electronics, and nearby housing, that are often overlooked,” Senator Fine said. “We need to make these resources more accessible to students from all economic backgrounds so that they can be successful as they pursue their education.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that even as tuition has risen, no cost of college life has increased faster than textbooks. The bureau found that book prices rose 88% between 2006 and 2016, and the College Board — which administers the SAT exam — reported that students budget more than $1,200 each year for textbooks and other class supplies, including technology.

Under Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) Senate Bill 3856, public universities and community colleges would be required to provide all necessary coursework materials for rental free of charge for Illinois students.

Many public universities and community colleges, such as Southern Illinois University, already include free textbook rentals in their tuition and fee costs for all students. Recent studies have found that these more affordable course materials can deliver student cost savings of 29% to 35% annually.

“As chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, I know students face additional costs that can put financial strain on their families making it difficult for them to finish college,” Bennett said. “This textbook incentive will not only reduce that financial burden, but will ensure students are set up for success by having access to all of their course materials.”

While there are currently many initiatives to make higher education more affordable for children from low-income families, few provide relief for middle-class families who also come under large financial strain when sending their children to college.

To address this issue, Senator Laura Murphy’s measure – Senate Bill 1145 – would allow a taxpayer who either is a student or claims one or more students as dependents to earn a tax credit of up to $1,000 toward tuition and fees for Illinois public institutions of higher education.

“Paying for higher education can be a massive financial undertaking for working families,” Murphy said. “It is important that we provide relief to middle-class families working hard to send their children to Illinois schools.”

Mardell Davis, a Springfield High School senior, is in the process of deciding which college to commit to. The costs associated with each school could be a deciding factor for him.

“As a future college student, I am aware of the sometimes high costs attributed to earning a degree,” Mardell said. “I appreciate that the Senate is working on a bill that will make sure all necessary class materials are more affordable.”

For more information on the bills outlined at the press conference, people can visit https://www.illinoissenatedemocrats.com/HigherEd.

greenshirt murphySPRINGFIELD –State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is one step closer to officially designating official events held on the Republic of Ireland Day in Illinois, adding to the existing statute establishing April 18 in honor of Irish-American Illinoisians.

“It is important for us to honor the one million Irish-Americans who call Illinois home and the lasting contributions they have made on our state,” Murphy said. “Designating this day will show our respect for Irish-Americans’ history, culture, and impact to our communities.”

On April 18, 1949, Ireland officially declared itself independent from Great Britain. Therefore, this date is significant to many Irish-Americans, and many events and celebrations are held in its honor across the state.

Murphy’s bill requires the governor to issue a proclamation announcing the recognition of Republic of Ireland Day within 10 days of April 18th, and designate the official events that are being held in honor of the day. Since Illinois has a large population of Irish-American immigrants and many gatherings in celebration of Irish holidays, designating the Republic of Ireland Day as a commemorative day would further honor Irish-American immigrants in Illinois.

“Given the immense contributions Irish-American immigrants and their decedents have made to our state, it is important that we celebrate their culture by formally recognizing Republic of Ireland Day,” Murphy said. “I look forward to celebrating with the Irish-American immigrants and their decedents in my community on April 18th this year, and in years to come.”

House Bill 4811 passed the Senate on Tuesday. It now awaits the Governor’s signature to become law.

murphygreenstripeSPRINGFIELD –To honor the one million Irish-Americans living in Illinois, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is working to designate April 18 as the Republic of Ireland Day in Illinois.

“I am proud that my district is home to a diverse group of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, a large group of whom are of Irish descent,” Murphy said. “It is important for us to commemorate the lasting impact Irish-Americans have made by designating this day.”

On April 18, 1949, Ireland officially declared itself independent from Great Britain. Therefore, this date is significant to many Irish-Americans, and there are many events and celebrations in its honor across the state.

Murphy’s bill would require the governor to issue a proclamation announcing the recognition of Republic of Ireland Day 10 days in advance, and designate the official events that are being held in honor of the day. Since Illinois has a large population of Irish-American immigrants and many gatherings in celebration of Irish holidays, such as the country’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, designating the Republic of Ireland Day as a commemorative day would further honor Irish-American immigrants in Illinois.

“Irish-Americans are a fundamental part of Illinois history and our state’s culture,” Murphy said. “Designating April 18 as the Republic of Ireland Day will let them know how much we appreciate their contributions throughout history, and how they are presently valued as members of our communities.”

Murphy is the chief sponsor for House Bill 4811. The bill awaits review in the Senate State Government committee.

 

murphypurplemaskSPRINGFIELD –Affording higher education could get easier for middle class students in Illinois, thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

“Middle class families often struggle with the cost of higher education,” Murphy said. “This measure can provide some relief to ease this financial burden that many working parents face."

Currently, there are many initiatives making higher education more affordable for children of low-income families. However, there are few programs that provide assistance to middle-class families, who also come under large financial strain when sending their children to college but are unqualified to apply for existing relief programs because of their income.

To address this issue, Murphy passed a measure which would allow a taxpayer who either is a student or claims one or more students as dependents to earn a tax credit of up to $1,000 toward tuition and fees for Illinois public institutions of higher education.

“Studies prove that students who pursue additional education post high school are financially more successful in life. Providing some relief of this financial burden gives students the tools to succeed,” Murphy said. “Granting tax credits for middle-class students at Illinois public universities will inspire them to look into great opportunities they may have from attending an Illinois school. I am confident this program will be transformative for middle-class student’s success.”

Senate Bill 1145 passed the Senate on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for further consideration.

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Office Info

Springfield Office:
307 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3875

District Office:

1645 South River Road, Suite 7
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018
 (847) 718-1110