A group of Illinois House Republicans has unveiled a package of legislation designed to make college more affordable for upper-middle-class Illinoisans. The plan would create a $1,000 tax credit to help families earning less than $150,000 per year pay for college expenses at accredited, in-state schools. The credit would apply for each semester that a student is eligible. An accredited school is one that is approved to participate in the Monetary Assistance Program. However, students already receiving a MAP Grant won’t be eligible.
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State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) says the legislation is designed to keep Illinois’ college-age students in Illinois. “In doing so it would mirror what we see in Indiana as well and what we believe to be very effective in not only recruiting Illinois students to stay here in Illinois for their education proposes but also stay here for their careers,” Brown said.
The package also includes legislation that would allow individual income tax deductions for those who are saving money for college in a private-sector 529 savings program for up to $10,000 of annual contributions made each year. Currently those tax deductions are offered only to contributors of in-state administered college savings plans such as Bright Start.
There’s still no set way to pay for the programs, but those who are drafting the legislation say revenue from an expansion of gambling is one option.
The legislation likely wouldn’t be introduced until the fall.