03162017AM5442WebResizePCSPRINGFIELD – On Thursday, Senator Bill Cunningham and officials from the University of Illinois announced a new financial aid program that will be a part of the larger University of Illinois “Investment, Performance, and Accountability Commitment.” The goal of the commitment is to set a tuition cap and increase access to the University of Illinois for Illinois students.

“This new program continues to drive home the fact that universities like the U of I system should be finding ways to bring real results for Illinois taxpayers,” Cunningham said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure taxpayer money being spent is doing what it is supposed to be doing, helping Illinois.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 222, would guarantee a minimum level of funding for the University of Illinois system in return for the system meeting certain benchmarks including a tuition cap and increased access for Illinois students. The forthcoming amendment looks to help U of I achieve the goals set. If the university system were to fail their expectations the state could withhold a portion of the guaranteed funding.

“This legislation could be a template for other universities throughout the state,” Cunningham said. “It provides stability in university planning and gives the Illinois taxpayers tangible results on how that money is being spent.”

Senate Bill 222 is currently under consideration by the Senate’s Higher Education committee.

Category: Press Releases

03142017CM0651WebResizeSPRINGFIELD – College students needing to buy a new computer for school use or who utilize special needs services could soon be able use their Illinois’ College Savings Plan to do so due to a measure being pushed by State Senator Bill Cunningham and State Treasurer Michael Frerichs.

“In today’s society every college student needs a computer to even think about succeeding in college,” Cunningham said. “It is just as necessary as textbooks.”

The measure, Senate Bill 1758, would add computers and other technology based expenses to the definition of qualified expenses for the purposes of one’s Illinois’ College Savings Plan. Expenses from special needs services connected with enrollment or attendance would also be defined as qualified expenses.

“It is unfair for a college or university to put extra cost requirements on a student with special needs to successfully attend and then the state rejects the student’s ability to use their Bright Start Account to pay for those required expenses,” Cunningham said.

The measure was passed out of the Senate’s State Government committee on Wednesday and moves to the full Senate for final passage.

Category: Press Releases

01092017CM0248ResizeWebSPRINGFIELD – On Tuesday, the Illinois Senate pushed through legislation that would finish funding state services through the end of the current fiscal year. The legislative package included legislation that would send promised MAP grant money to students for the current fiscal year.

“The state of Illinois committed to assisting students in bettering themselves by attending a university or community colleges,” Cunningham said. “We need to send the money we promised these students so that they aren’t left hanging with the bill.”

The legislation also would fund critical human service programs who saw what little funding was available from the stopgap proposal end on December 31.

“Groups like Sertoma, Park Lawn and Sandbox Learning Center have gone for far too long with no certainty that funding is coming,” Cunningham said. “Today, we were able to give them some hope by starting to pass this compromise.”

Category: Press Releases

Sen Cunningham PietsCHICAGO – The story of a young Ian Piet and his family recently has caused two Illinois legislators to join his fight against lung cancer. State Senator Bill Cunningham and Representative Kelly Burke have signed up to Hustle Up the Hancock held by the Respiratory Health Association on February 26, 2017.

“I met Ian at the State Capitol and listened to his story about how his dad struggled with lung cancer,” Cunningham said. “When he asked if I could join his team to find a cure for respiratory diseases like lung cancer I was ready.”

Tinley Park resident Piet lost his father to lung cancer in 2015, motivating him and his mother, Holli, to become advocates for a cure for lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. Ian worked with Senator Michael E. Hastings to declare November 2016 Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

“I am excited to join the thousands of other climbers to raise money for this fantastic cause,” Burke said. “We can all do our part to defeat lung cancer by raising money to invest in research and promote healthy living.”  

Senator Cunningham and Representative Burke will join Senator Hastings and Ian in their 94-story climb up the John Hancock Building to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for lung cancer.

Category: Press Releases

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