Although tuition hikes and decreasing federal funding tend to make bigger headlines, officials in Illinois hope to reverse this trend by investing more than $50 million back into higher education, according to WREX.
The money will be used to increase the Monetary Assistance Program, which helps students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds with tuition fees and other educational expenses. Governor Pat Quinn said education was an important part of the state's future.
"This budget invests more in education. From birth to university, I believe jobs follow brainpower," Quinn said, as quoted by the news outlet. "At a time when student loan debt is more than credit card debt, too many deserving Illinois students are denied access to high education because they cannot afford it."
According to the Chicago Tribune, Governor Quinn wants part of Illinois' education budget for next year to include additional funding for merit-based financial aid packages such as scholarships.
Although earning a degree can be expensive, make sure to look into scholarship programs when you're doing a college search. Many high school seniors don't realize how many financial aid programs are out there.