“I look forward to putting this distraction behind us so we can focus on other important issues in the coming weeks – like balancing the budget and ensuring the State lives within its means.” – Senator Linda Holmes

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In January, Illinois Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) made the decision to stop offering the legislative scholarship program after a series of reports came out about abuse within the program. Nearly four months later, the entire Illinois Senate followed suit as a measure to abolish the program passed out of the Senate chamber this afternoon.

House Bill 3810 would abolish the tuition waiver program and set up a task force to review and evaluate tuition and fee waiver programs offered by universities in Illinois.

“I welcome the rest of the General Assembly in the effort to eliminate fraudulent and abusive practices in our State. The time to end the troubled scholarship program has come and I am pleased that the rest of the General Assembly has finally realized that,” Senator Holmes said. “I look forward to putting this distraction behind us so we can focus on other important issues in the coming weeks – like balancing the budget and ensuring the State lives within its means.”

Over the past few years, a number of media outlets have highlighted abuses of the tuition waiver program. According to the reports, some legislators have given scholarships to children of campaign donors.

Prior to her decision to opt out of the program, Holmes formed a separate committee that ensured she was kept out of the process. The scholarships helped a number of deserving students in her district, Holmes said, but the program has become too tainted to continue in Illinois.

“I am proud of the many wonderful students who were able to pursue their dream of higher education because of the scholarship program. But, unfortunately, the abuses by some legislators forced me to suspend the program. Ending this program is another step in the right direction to restore integrity in state government,” Senator Holmes added.

After passing the Senate, the measure now moves to the Illinois House for further consideration.

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