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An End to Politically Connected College Scholarships

Nick Gale, Illinois Capitol Bureau
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SPRINGFIELD, ILL (IRN) - If you live in Illinois and were hoping for one of those “politically connected,” legislative college scholarships for your son or daughter, you’d better think about getting a bank loan instead.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he will sign a bill that does away with controversial and sometimes abused legislative scholarships.

Quinn says lawmakers in the Senate did the right thing by passing the bill. “I salute John Cullerton, the president of the Senate, for letting the bill be voted on last week,” said Quinn, speaking for the first time since the vote. “It got overwhelming approval to abolish political scholarships.”

The legislative perk allowed lawmakers to give four semesters of college tuition waivers per year to students in their districts. The practice has been under fire for decades as legislators awarded the free scholarships to the children of political supporters, family members and students who lived outside of the legislative district.

Quinn says scholarships should go to the needy, not those with political connections. He has long been an advocate of increasing the MAP grant program, which assists low-income students.

Bills to eliminate the scholarships have passed both houses of the General Assembly, but they are different bills. The plan is for the bill that passed in the Senate last week to be taken up in the House. If it passes there, it will go to the governor.

Copyright Illinois Radio Network

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