Hearing set in Springfield on college affordability

Hearing set in Springfield on college affordability

SPRINGFIELD — Local legislators Sen. Mike Frerichs and Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, will convene a joint hearing on college affordability next week in Springfield.

The hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday in Room D-1 of the Stratton Office Building, just west of the Statehouse, in Springfield.

Both chair their respective chambers' committees on higher education. Committee members will hear testimony from students as well as representatives of state universities and community colleges. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon also is scheduled to speak.

Confirmed witnesses include staff and students from the University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University and the Illinois community college system.

"We're aware of the problem and we want to talk to people, hear from people and see if we can find a legislative remedy," Frerichs said.

Asked what lawmakers could do, given the state's fiscal condition, Frerichs said: "That's why we're having a hearing, to get some ideas."

In prepared remarks, Jakobsson said that funding state grants to students and "considering other approaches to college affordability will keep more of our young people in Illinois after graduation. Talented college graduates leave our state when they can't find a job that will let them pay off their debt quickly. Addressing the financial piece of the higher education puzzle is crucial to maintaining one of Illinois' greatest assets: its high-quality workforce."

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