Simon unveils new white paper on higher education in Illinois at Chicago’s Union League Club
CHICAGO – February 12, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon was the featured guest speaker today at the Union League Club in Chicago. Simon released a white paper on game-changing reforms that will make college more affordable and increase graduation rates.
“We need to make sure that our high school students are ready for college and complete certificates and degrees on time and with less debt,” said Simon, Governor Quinn’s point person on education reform. "The return on educational investment is proven for graduates seeking living-wage jobs and a state seeking high-quality employers. College is worth it."
According to Simon, affordability is the most significant barrier to students seeking degrees at public universities. Simon’s white paper includes game-changing reforms, such as dual degree programs that enable students to enroll simultaneously in community colleges and universities. Students are able to pay lower community college tuitions rates and later transition seamlessly to a university.
Reverse transfer programs enable students who have transferred from community colleges to continue earning credits toward an associate degree when their university classes overlap with community college requirements. Simon also suggested targeted income taxes waivers for students who earn bachelor's or advanced degrees and choose to live and work in Illinois post-graduation.
The paper follows Simon’s College Affordability Summits for students, teachers and administrators held this fall at the state’s 12 public universities.
As the state’s leading voice on education and chair of the Joint Educational Leadership Committee, Lt. Governor Simon is charged with increasing to 60 percent the proportion of working-age adults in Illinois with college degrees or certificates by 2025.
This goal is critical to the economic future of Illinois and its families. Without an educated workforce, Illinois will be unable to attract and retain employers requiring highly-skilled workers to fill current openings and sustain their future growth.
Lt. Governor Simon’s white paper can be found here