Governor Pat Quinn says he looks forward to signing into law a measure to help undocumented immigrants afford a higher education. The Illinois House Monday approved the plan with just one vote to spare. It had earlier passed in the state Senate.
The measure calls upon the state to administer privately-funded scholarships for undocumented high school graduates. Taxpayer money wouldn’t be used; the money would come from donors.
Cindy Agustin moved to the United States when she was three years old. She’s now 22 and will soon gradate from the University of Chicago.
She won a scholarship that helped her pay for college, “but I know that the majority of undocumented youth do not have these resources,” Agustin said. “It’s not fair that I can get an education, but my sister who is graduating from high school the day before my college graduation has no financial resources to continue her education. It’s not fair that my sister’s future and other undocumented youth’s future is uncertain.”
Fifteen university presidents, including University of Illinois President Michael Hogan, had expressed their support.
Advocates stressed to legislators the growing political power of Latinos. The new census showed increases in the Latino population, particularly in the suburbs.
In a statement the governor said he believes everyone has a right to a first class education.