Quinn Proposes $50 Million For Illinois Scholarship Program - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Quinn Proposes $50 Million For Illinois Scholarship Program

Updated: Feb 20, 2012 06:11 PM CST

Richard Wold and his daughter walk along the sidewalk near Augustana College's Centennial Hall.  The high school student is taking a tour and her father is hoping Illinois can provide some sort of financial aid.

"I'm all for the state cutting back costs and they need to but probably the one area that they do have a responsibility for and that is for providing college funds for people to go to college," said Wold.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a $50 million influx of cash into the state's scholarship program that he says will provide thousands of students with help to pay for college.

Currently, about 150,000 Illinois students are receiving help to pay for college through the Monetary Aid Program.

Quinn's plan is getting high marks from college students in the Illinois Quad Cities.

"I think it would help me out a lot with loans," said April Stokes, a Western Illinois University student in Moline.

"I think that would be great as long as the state can afford it and its within their budget," said Lindsay Rudolph, a WIU student.

"It would definitely be a push to a lot of people wanting to go to college and continue their education," said Nazam Patzieyev, a WIU student.

Kent Barnds with Augustana College says there is a real need for increased financial aid for students.

"We've seen over the course of the past decade a declining amount of support from both the federal and the state government so this is a really positive sign that the state of Illinois recognizes that an investment in its students is an investment in its future," said Barnds.

But at what cost?

Gov. Quinn says he will close facilities and make cuts to other departments to cover the costs of the educational investments.  St. Sen. Mike Jacobs says he wants to know where the cuts will fall before he gives Quinn his support.

"If he's going to make some additional dollars spent toward education, I want to know exactly what he's going to cut," said Jacobs.

Currently, about 630 of Augustana College's 2,500 students are using the grant to help pay for college.  That's compared to about 15 percent of students at Moline's Western Illinois University because of it's Iowa student population.

"This is not the first year we've been in debt.  We're going to be in debt probably when I'm dead but we still have to make some expenditures that maybe we don't want to make but education is an important expenditure," said Jacobs.

Gov. Quinn is expected to layout his plan during his budget address Wednesday.


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