Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs visited Macomb this week. He was the featured speaker at a dinner hosted by the McDonough County Democratic Central Committee.
Frerichs told Tri States Public Radio that two recently signed bills are designed to help boost student enrollment at the state’s colleges and universities.
One measure creates a Higher Education Savings Program for children born or adopted after December 31, 2020. Frerichs said his office will put some money into the program, hoping it encourages parents to do likewise.
“We know that when we can help seed accounts for young people, parents are more likely to contribute their own money. And kids are three times more likely to attend college or a community college or a trade program if they know they have a college savings account in their name,” Frerichs said.
“This legislation allows us to go out and fund raise. It doesn’t take effect right away so we have time to work on that.”
Frerichs said the governor has also signed a bill that allows the state to purchase student debt and refinance it at a lower interest rate. He said many college graduates have so much debt that they put off buying a house or car, which hurts the state’s economy.
“When you have a whole generation of young people who aren’t making these major life purchases, it’s really harming everyone,” he said.
Frerichs called this year’s legislative session a success. “After four years of inaction – of gridlock and of fighting – it was nice to see people come together in a bipartisan manner to get things done for the state and get us moving forward.”