Rep. Lou Lang Drops Legislative Scholarships, Sponsors Bill to Abolish the Lawmaker Tuition Waivers

(Springfield, IL) — March 7, 2011. As a cost-cutting measure, Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) today announced he would no longer grant Illinois General Assembly scholarships to constituents, and that he had joined a legislative push to abolish the scholarships.

“While I am proud of the students to whom I have granted scholarships to enable them to pursue a college education, the budget crisis that continues to beset state government demands that lawmakers deepen our efforts to cut costs,” said Lang. “The scholarships are a luxury Illinois can no longer afford.”

Lang is also co-sponsoring legislation, House Bill 2868, to strip the ability of each of the state’s 177 legislators to nominate students who live in their district for either two four-year tuition-waivers, four two-year tuition waivers or eight one-year waivers at a state university.

“Illinois universities must fully bear the costs of a legislative scholarship, cutting purchases of computers, laboratory equipment, research materials elsewhere in their budgets,” said Lang. “Additionally, the state has not paid universities in six months or longer in some cases. Lawmakers can’t add to their burden.”

Last year, Lang backed a House bill that successfully passed the chamber to abolish the scholarships, but the Senate refused to consider the plan.

Gov. Pat Quinn supports the elimination of the legislative scholarship program.

Lang joins a growing lost of lawmakers who have forsaken the tuition waiver program. Last year, 28 lawmakers refused to grant their legislative scholarships, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

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