Morrison calls student access bill 'bad policy'
Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) is clear about who he thinks state financial aid to attend Illinois public universities should be reserved for.
"I voted no on that bill because it's entirely bad public policy to give favorable treatment to students who are here illegally above those Illinois students who are citizens," Morrison told the North Cook News regarding House Bill 2394. "I don't know how you defend that policy."
The Illinois House soundly rejected the so-called Student Access Bill that would allow four-year public universities to offer financial aid to every student enrolled at their school on a competitive basis.
Currently, undocumented students, including those granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, are not eligible to receive such funding as federal student aid, Pell grants, Illinois MAP Grants and other forms of state-based aid, though federal law allows state legislatures to offer undocumented students eligibility for state aid on an individual basis.
"We are elected to represent the citizens in our community,” Morrison said. “We vote on appropriations bills using tax dollars for public schools, K-12 and higher education. We ought to allocate those funds to citizens of the state of Illinois."
Supporters of the bill had argued it is revenue neutral and would not require the state to appropriate additional resources or funding upon passage. Current law also allows state universities to offer scholarships funds to undocumented students that are pocketed from the contributions of private donors.
In at least temporarily putting the brakes on HB 2394, Morrison joined a bipartisan coalition that included Reps. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis) and Natalie Phelps Finnie (D-Elizabethtown).