- Associated Press - Thursday, March 16, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The University of Illinois would reserve 85 percent of financial aid for Illinois residents as part of a proposed five-year state funding agreement being considered in the Legislature.

Legislators introduced the financial aid measure Thursday as an amendment to the pending Investment, Performance and Accountability Commitment funding legislation. The legislation would give the university predictable funding in exchange for meeting benchmarks.

University President Tim Killeen on Wednesday called the “Invest in Illinois” measure an effort to keep Illinois high school graduates in state for college and stem a growing loss of students to out-of-state schools. Killeen said the university would commit at least $170 million a year for the next five years to students from Illinois, The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports (https://bit.ly/2nJL6yj ).

The $170 million isn’t new money. It is the amount the university already gives to in-state students. But university officials said the school would use that figure as a base and moving forward would reserve 85 percent of any growth in financial aid resources for in-state students.

Based on the $170 million figure, in-state students would receive $850 million in financial aid over five years, something Killeen calls “unprecedented in our 150-year history.” School officials said the financial aid would be in the form of merit-based and need-based grants.

Killeen said the in-state financial aid hinges on the pending funding legislation because financial aid could go down if the legislation sin’t approved or if state funding declines. Under the legislation, university base funding would be $647 million and afterward would rise by the rate of inflation.

The university says that in 2015, 45 percent of high school students who graduated in Illinois and were bound for college went to schools out of state. That number was 29 percent in 2002.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

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