HunterDCFS052814Plan to expand DCFS’ Department Scholarship Program sponsored by State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) gained senate approval today. The measure requires DCFS to provide scholarships for a minimum of 53 students every year.

“Teens under DCFS’ care will have a greater opportunity to attend college without worrying about the financial strain,” said Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip. “We’ve seen the costs of college skyrocket, incomes slash and a gap widen between high school graduates and students with higher degrees. This program would help close that gap.”

The measure changes current law by increasing the number of students awarded scholarships from a maximum of 48 to a minimum of 53. The plan also increases the length students can receive assistance from only four consecutive years to at least five.

Beginning August 24, DCFS will collect data regarding the success of the program. The department will monitor the number of youth applying for and receiving scholarships, the percentage of recipients completing their degree within five years, and the outcomes five and 10 years after being awarded the scholarships.

“We are restructuring the program to ensure the dollars are used wisely,” said Hunter, while discussing the measure on the floor. “This program has been in operation for over 40 years. It’s important for us to support young people interested in attending college.”

House Bill 4652 now goes to the governor’s office to be signed into law.

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