Legislation that would let undocumented college students compete for state-funded financial aid opportunities at four-year Illinois universities passed a House committee Wednesday.
The "Student Access Bill," approved in the House Higher Education Committee, now goes to the full chamber for consideration. The Senate already approved the measure last month.
Currently, undocumented immigrants in Illinois are ineligible for public university scholarships, grants, waivers and other forms of financial assistance. They also cannot obtain federal student aid.
"As undocumented students, we go to desperate lengths to pay for our school," Northern Illinois University student Laura Cholula said in a statement. "If the Access Bill were to become law, students would finally have some relief off their shoulders. Relieving some of the financial burden would help students focus their energies on other things, such as figuring out what they want to study in school, and not having to work as much because now they're getting help from their universities and their communities in college."
Advocates of the Student Access Bill say the legislation is "revenue-neutral" because it does not increase state aid for scholarships and grants.