With a stroke of his pen Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn abolished political scholarships. After several tries to abolish the long controversial practice of legislative tuition waivers to state universities, Quinn signed into law today the reform that officially abolishes the General Assembly Scholarship program.
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“There is no place for political scholarships in Illinois,” Quinn said. “I believe in the power of education, the importance of ethics and integrity and the idea that you can get ahead in life with a little hard work. That’s why today I enact this long overdue reform and redouble our efforts in increase scholarships for deserving college students.” Quinn says the state must now focus on increasing the number of Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grants. It’s still unclear where the funds will come from, other than a proposal by Quinn to close some so-called corporate tax loopholes.
Technically the state isn’t saving any money by abolishing political legislative because universities ate the costs by waiving tuition. During the 2010-11 school year, the program cost 11 of 12 public state universities an aggregated $13.4 million in waived tuition. Even though Quinn signed the law today, the scholarships aren’t yet dead. Members of the General Assembly can still hand out tuition waivers for the 2012-13 school year, with a nominating deadline of Sept. 1, 2012.