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Friday, August 24

HB5122 Signed into Law!

Kyle Hillman, NASW-Illinois Chapter Legislative Director

Today Governor Rauner signed our signature legislation for the last session, HB5122, a bill to allow last dollar tuition waiver for at-risk former youth in care (foster youth). This includes former youth in care who aged out of the system, are about to age out of the system, or who were placed in an adoptive or guardianship home with a special needs agreement. Studies indicate that youth in foster care are less likely than their peers to attend college or have a post-secondary degree from a two– or four-year college. The most commonly cited barrier preventing them from continuing education is the inability to pay for school. As a result, youth in care experience a variety of negative outcomes and, in many cases, end up in the criminal justice system or are homeless by the age of 26. This incredibly important law removes the barrier to access to college for thousands of former youth in care in Illinois. 

We want to thank our bill sponsors, Senator Christina Castro and Representative Chris Welch for their leadership shepherding this bill into law. We want to extend a special thank you to the Foster Care Alumni Association, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, legislators from both parties who voted for and supported this law, and our members and advocacy groups who reached out to encourage Governor Rauner to sign this into law.

Also we extend our thanks to former intern and recent University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate Kathleen Miller, whose research during her internship helped support and ultimately pass this landmark legislation.

Message from State Rep. Chris Welch:

NASW-IL and FCAA-IL joint statement on the signing of HB5122: http://naswil.org/images/uploads/documents/College_Tuition_Waiver_Release.pdf

HB5122 legislative language: http://ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=5122&GAID=14&GA=100&DocTypeID=HB&LegID=110742&SessionID=91

Posted on 08/24/18 at 11:23 AM


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