College Affordability State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) has moved a number of measures through the Illinois Senate this week  that would increase opportunities for those who are looking to attend college.

Understanding the expenses attributed to attending college, and the need to have easy access to the proper resources to succeed, Clayborne passed a measure, House Bill 3179, that would add computers and other technology to the definition of qualified expenses under the Illinois’ College Savings Plan.

“Today, computers are just as necessary as textbooks. If you don’t have easy access to a computer, your chances of succeeding plummet,” Clayborne said. “We should do everything we can to ensure students are able to attend college and afford the resources they need to go on and complete their degree programs.”

Clayborne also passed legislation that would bring increased opportunity for East St. Louis High School students to earn college credit. House Bill 3601 would encourage East St. Louis School District 189 to allow juniors and seniors to take classes at the SIU Charter School for dual credit at no cost to the students.

“Increasing educational opportunities for young people is so important in our community,” Clayborne said. “The earlier we can get students enrolled in college credit courses, the better the chance that they will continue their education. I want to make sure young people have the tools they need to be successful and find gainful employment.”

Currently, the school district offers dual credit programs for high school students to be taken at Southwestern Illinois College. This measure would build on the current practice by expanding it to the SIU Charter School in East St. Louis.

Finally, in an effort to ensure service members receive college credit for military courses, Clayborne passed House Bill 3701, which would create the Educational Credit for Military Experience Act. The measure would require Illinois’ public universities and community colleges to develop a policy for awarding college credit for military courses taken through the armed forces.

“Providing our service members access to higher education should be a priority of our state and our nation,” Clayborne said. “It is important that we continue this trend by offering students a clear understanding of how their military courses transfer into our state’s universities and community colleges.”

All three measures have passed the Illinois Senate and now go to the governor’s desk for approval.


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