3 bills introduced in Illinois that would make college more affordable in the state

From Southern Illinois University down in Carbondale, up to Northern Illinois in DeKalb, and the University of Illinois in Central Illinois, state lawmakers rolled out new plans to make all state universities and colleges more affordable — therefore more appealing to Illinois students.

"We'll be giving working families some financial relief when undertaking a student's tuition as well as supporting students who want to stay in Illinois and contribute to our great state," said State Sen. Laura Murphy, (D) 28th District.

Three Democratic state senators announced three bills in Springfield Wednesday morning, with students standing by who know the hard choices college costs can bring.

"Let me tell you the extra burden of having to figure out is it worth it to have me get eight extra hours to study this Saturday or do I have to work this job in order to make this month's rent, said Megan O'Brien, a graduate student at University of Illinois Springfield.

One proposed bill would give up to $1,000 in tax credits to families whose children go to college in state. 

Another tackles the mounting price of text books.

"No cost of college life has increased more faster than text books and that's saying something," said State Sen. Scott Bennett, (D) 52nd District.


A third bill would give more flexibility to students receiving MAP grants beyond paying for classes and fees.

"So these students will be able to take what's left over in the MAP grants and apply that to things like books, supplies, electronics, that they need to purchase in order to achieve their education," said State Sen. Laura Fine, (D) 9th District.

Don't expect immediate relief from these ideas. The bills are not expected to make it to a vote before the Illinois legislative session ends next week.