FaraciSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Paul Faraci supported House Bill 301 which passed the Senate, marking a significant milestone in the expansion of the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program.

“This legislation makes a firm investment in the ability for students from Illinois to attend college in Illinois,” said Faraci (D-Champaign). “Illinois is home to some incredible higher education institutions, and we want to make sure that our students have the best chance to take advantage of them.”

Beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, The Aspirational Institutional Match Helping Illinois Grow Higher Education (AIM HIGH) has provided merit-based, means-tested student financial aid to first-time, full-time undergraduate students and transfer students who are Illinois residents attending any of the 12 Illinois public four-year universities. AIM HIGH-participating universities are required to provide matching funding for institutional awards for students who meet certain eligibility requirements, as well as those established by each individual university.

Senator Faraci’s legislation will do a few things, including making the AIM HIGH Grant Pilot Program permanent, increasing transparency in the program to allow more students to take advantage, increasing access for part-time students and making changes to the matching requirements for the public universities.

The changes to the matching requirement for institutions is based on the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants. Institutions with at least 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 35% of the grant amount, up from the previous 20%. Similarly, institutions with less than 49% of students receiving Pell Grants will now be required to contribute 70% of the grant amount, compared to the previous 60%. These changes will ensure that the AIM HIGH Grant Program targets those most in need, further amplifying its impact.

“I recognize that attending college isn’t for everyone, but I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend if they so choose,” said Faraci. “We’re investing in the next generation of leaders and this action will help keep those leaders here in Illinois.”

House Bill 301 passed the Senate on Wednesday.