Closing College Illinois to new investors is good policy, Batinick says
The state program College Illinois is on the rocks yet again due to funding deficiencies, and Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has been keeping an eye on the situation.
College Illinois, a program of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission that helps families pay upfront for tuition and other student expenses on an installment plan, has been billed as a supportive option for families, but it's in trouble. With a shortfall of some $320 million, the program is expected to become insolvent in 2025 at the current rate of sign-ups.
With the Illinois Student Assistance Commission working with the state to resolve the issue, it's reasonable to question the future of the program.
"Illinois needs to make good on its promises," Batinick told the Will County Gazette. "One of the things that will help will be to stop making promises that are difficult to keep. That's why closing the program to new investors is a sound policy decision at this time. Long-term commitments that are dependent on the market add to state risk."
However, Batinick also sees a reason to hedge concerns, as positive future trends could contribute to a brighter financial picture for the program.
"The recent upswing in the market should also help mitigate any future state liability," Batinick said. "There are also many policy actions that can be taken to ensure that all investors are made whole."
Batinick also referred reporters to Will County Gazette's January coverage, where he suggested another imperative is to tamp down costs for students.
"One of the biggest ways to address the issue is to address all the cost-drivers in higher education," Batinick said, according to a Jan. 4 story. "Getting Illinois' tuition rates down will help with the plan's solvency."