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Politics and Government

Illinois To Offer New Merit-Based College Scholarships

Dietz with Rauner
Illinois State University
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Gov. Bruce Rauner, right, with Illinois State University President Larry Dietz during a 2015 campus visit.

Illinois is creating a new merit-based scholarship aimed at getting more high school graduates to attend in-state colleges and universities.

The AIM HIGH grant pilot program will provide at least $50 million in financial aid. The state is providing $25 million in the current budget year. Universities are matching that amount.

Lawmakers approved the program earlier this year with nearly unanimous support. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure into law Tuesday during a stop in Champaign.

His office says undergraduate enrollment at Illinois' public universities fell more than 8 percent, or by more than 5,000 students, between 2011 and 2016.

Rauner says the scholarship will make Illinois colleges more affordable and allow the state to better compete with out-of-state institutions that offer more financial aid.

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