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Illinois lawmakers look to start college savings accounts

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Tuesday, April 9, 2019  |  Article  |  By Benjamin Yount

Education--Higher (37) Gabel, Robyn--State House, 18 , Wehrli, Grant--State House, 41
The state of Illinois may soon provide the seed money for kids in the state to go to college.

The Illinois House last week approved a plan to create a college savings fund for every child born or adopted in Illinois starting in 2021.

The state would provide an initial $50 investment. That $50 could grow, and families could access the money starting when a child turns ten.

State Rep. Robyn Gable said $50 isn't much, but it doesn't need to be.

"Research has shown that any amount that's saved for a child's higher education, they will be three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate from college," Gable said.

In all, Gable expects the program to cost about $10 million a year.

Some Republicans said the state can't afford it. And state Rep. Grant Wehrli said he worried that Illinois would squander the money.

"This state has serious financial mismanagement problems. It's pandemic around the state in terms of how we invest our dollars," Wehrli said on the House Floor. "This is yet another opportunity for the state to mismanage funds."

The Illinois Senate will take up the idea next.