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Simon: Keep student loan rates low
Aurora students focus on affordability, job prospects
AURORA – June 22, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon said she supported keeping student loan rates affordable during a round table Friday with adult education and ESL students at Waubonsee Community College’s new downtown Aurora campus.
Simon urged Congress to vote soon on a plan to keep interest rates from doubling July 1. The hike on federal subsidized loans to undergraduates would cost the average Illinois student more than $1,000.
“College isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity that all of us should be able to afford,” Simon said. “Congress needs to take steps to keep rates down. The General Assembly needs to fund state education grants. And students need to do the hard work it takes to complete college and enter the workforce here in Illinois.”
Simon serves as the Governor’s point person on education reform. In her first year in office, she conducted a Complete College Tour of the state’s 48 community colleges to promote college completion. She has advocated for strengthening the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants so more low-income students can access higher education. And a bill she crafted to reduce remedial math needs at colleges and universities awaits the Governor’s signature.
Simon visited Waubonsee’s downtown Aurora campus in recognition of its first anniversary. Unlike the former campus on Stolp Island, the River Street campus enables students to complete certificates and degrees at the single downtown location.
As part of her tour Friday, Simon learned about a "bridge" program that allows students to earn a GED while also taking a health information technology prep course. This course improves writing proficiency and introduces students to health terminology and the health information technology career. She also learned about Waubonsee's unique Health Care Interpreting and Legal Interpreting programs that prepare bilingual students for interpreting careers.
“Health care jobs are in-demand in our state, and we need to make every effort to help students graduate on time, in less debt and with a credential that connects to these good-paying jobs,” Simon said.
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