Hernandez Legislation to Ensure Equity for All Illinois Students

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

State Representative Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, D-Cicero, is fighting to expand access to higher education, working with a diverse coalition of legislators, advocates, and university officials to ensure that state financial aid is available to all Illinois students regardless of race, immigration status or gender identity. Hernandez’s House Bill 2691 would create the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act to ensure financial aid equity for minority and marginalized young people. The legislation would expand access to state aid by increasing the credit hour limit in place that disproportionately locks out African-American and other people of color from state aid. In 2018, 1,700 students who applied for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant were denied because they had surpassed the current credit hour limit. Hernandez’s RISE Act would also allow Illinois students who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, such as DACA recipients, to be eligible for state financial aid, as well as transgender students who do not register for required military purposes and as result are ineligible for federal aid. The measure was recently approved by the House Higher Education Committee.

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