Governor J.B. Pritzker earmarked funds in his state budget proposal in an effort to assist the struggling College Illinois program to pay promised tuition money to Illinois students.
The College Illinois program was started 23 years ago to give families in the state the ability to invest early in funding their children’s education at state colleges and universities.
However tuition costs have outpaced investment returns for the program, leaving a shortfall that could leave families in Illinois with broken tuition payment promises from the state. Pritzker says that the stagnation of the program needs to be addressed.
“College Illinois stopped taking new contracts and investors in 2017, and yet the liability remains. There are kids who are yet to hit college age who are owed a college tuition and so we need to address that.”
Pritzker’s budget proposal lines out $27 million for the program, which the governor says is a down payment of a longer term investment needed to keep the program solvent financially.
“There is about, as I understand, a net liability of about $300 million dollars total. So this will have to be a sustained investment over number of years, to make sure we are making good on the contracts that were promised to these families years ago.”
As of last year, the College Illinois program’s investment fund totaled about $846 million, which is still more than $300 million away from making good on promised higher education payments.