SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Lawmakers want to offer additional resources for college students when it comes to financial aid and academic support.
House Bill 3438 could require public universities and community colleges to designate an employee that provides assistance to undocumented and mixed-status students.
Rep. Maura Hirschauer (D-Batavia) explained that over 80 institutions in Illinois already offer this service to students. This led Republicans to question why the proposal is necessary, if colleges and universities already offer similar resources.
“What this bill is doing is putting a title to a person that in our universities already exists,” said Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb). “We’re putting another mandate, another burden, making all kinds of changes to our higher education that are not necessary because these resource officers currently exist.”
However, Hirschauer stressed the proposal would only benefit students rather than put more burdens on colleges and universities. She said the designated employee could also offer support services like mental health counseling options.
“I respectfully disagree with my colleague,” said Hirschauer. “There’s a lack of consistency in our public universities, community colleges. And not all universities have a go-to person and you need to wait, often for a long time, to find a person in upper level of administration to find the support you need.”
Still, the measure passed through the House on a partisan 70-39 vote. It will now move over to the Senate for more consideration.