High schoolers key to state's solvency?

ILLINOIS -- The latest effort to save universities suffering financial damage from the impasse involves lawmakers focusing on future taxpayers. They're starting with high school students.

A possible new program could give those students the financial boost needed to stay closer to home. It's no secret the state's finances are crippling higher education. High schoolers have taken notice.

"Unreliable, that's how I'd describe it."

That's how many see it. In 2015, 45% of high school students went out of state for college.

"A lot of us have been looking out of state, especially at Iowa State University because it has great programs and also because the state does have a budget and, you know, you'll still have the security of still going to next year."

The Affordable College Financing Pilot Program (ACFPP) could be a solution. It's designed to help 400 more students attend college in the state by providing loans to low-income students.

"It would be an incentive, kind of, because, it would make us feel like the state actually is backing us up and wanting us to continue our education."

In order to keep more students in state, many universities are already taking mattes into their own hands. The UI has insisted on freezing its tuition and paying student MAP Grant funds despite receiving little help from the state.

"We believe everyone of those graduates are going to become an economic engine for the state of Illinois, so we're doing everything we can do to keep students in school."

The commitment has been applauded by many, but without student funding, universities say the quality of their educations will remain overlooked.

"We really want students to understand that our universities are strong and they are all great choices."

The lawmaker who created ACFPP says there will be a long road to recovery, but it's the state's duty to reinvest in students.

Bringing students to in state universities is a critical focus right now. So much so, Eastern Illinois University is using advertising to lure students from several other states to its campus.

Earlier this month, UI President Tim Killeen announced an investment of millions of dollars for funding students to stay in state for college.


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