Education

The most conspicuous take away from the PROSPER Act is that for-profit-colleges get relief from all the Obama administration’s efforts to make them more accountable. Taxpayers should not subsidize school loans for schools with very low student success rates.

Income-driven-repayment loans have been a popular option for students. Here, if a student repays 10% (some 15%) of their income for 15 years (some 20), the balance of the loan is forgiven. However, some students at high end expensive schools have “gamed” this program and spoiled it for those it was intended to help. Some want to drop the “forgiveness” component of this option. Let’s, rather, administer it better to help those it was intended to help.

At present, some lawmakers are trying to attach various free speech, student rights measures to this bill. Those have nothing to do with helping finance education and should be addressed separately.

I support continuing funding for Pell grants.

State Education

The Illinois constitution says the state has the “primary responsibility” for funding elementary and secondary education. Currently, the state funds 25% of revenues for our schools. While the General Assembly needs to face up to its responsibility under the constitution, Illinois has hope for progress with Senate Bill 1, signed into law last summer. Over the next 5 years, SB 1 will reallocate state funds to school districts. Illinois ranks 47 in funding equity among its school districts. In 5 years projections are that Illinois will rank near the top for school funding equity across the nation.