With the start of a new calendar year comes a familiar call from dozens of state lawmakers: abolish the legislative scholarship program. State Rep. Jason Barickman (R-Champaign) is one of many co-sponsoring a measure to get rid of the program, which allows all state lawmakers to award up to eight scholarships per year. Barickman says the program is expensive, and the money saved could be put to better use.
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“If what we’re doing in the legislature is prioritizing our state spending, it would seem to make more sense to push more dollars toward MAP grants, which is a regulated process for providing financial aid to students,” he says.
There are several ongoing investigations about illegal distribution of the scholarships, and Barickman says it would be easiest to do away with the program. He says such a move could save up to $15 million annually.
The measure, H.B. 3901, is currently in a rules committee.