Some lawmakers look to lower college costs

Published 06/13 2013 04:52PM

Updated 06/13 2013 05:25PM

SPRINGFIELD -- A group of lawmakers is trying to make it easier for kids to go to college in Illinois. They want to give more tax incentives to lower costs. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

They say going to college here is too expensive. Many say that's an understatement. They say it's so bad, students are choosing out-of-state schools instead, because many times, it's actually cheaper. They say that's not good for the future of Illinois.

"Cost was very much on my mind when I was looking at which college to go into."

Most students can probably say the same thing. The cost to go to college stacks up more and more every year.

"I know I'm already looking at $30,000 after two years."

It's forcing students to look for different options away from home.

"I know a couple people who are going to, like, St. Louis and Webster because it's cheaper and they think they're better schools and better jobs in those states too."

Jesse Kamees says he thought about doing the same thing, but then again, why would a political science major want to leave a political town like this?

"While it may not have been my cheapest option, it was the best experience."

And that's exactly the mindset lawmakers are trying to tap into; help offset costs so kids can stay in state schools. They're proposing a $1,000 tax credit for middle-class families. You'd qualify as long as you make less than $150,000.

Plus, parents would get extra tax breaks on college savings accounts. These students say it would have made their choice to stay in Illinois a little easier and maybe their student loan horror stories a little less frightening.

"I'm very worried about my situation when I get out if I'm going to get a job. Student loans are going to kick in. I know a lot of kids working two or three jobs, 60 - 80 hours a week, just trying to pay off those student loans."

The point of this would be to help fill in the gap when it comes to map grants. If you get a map grant, you wouldn't qualify for this tax credit.

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