Legislators save tuition waiver

A proposed bill to cut tuition benefits from children of university employees did not pass Thursday in legislation.

House Bill 5531 proposed that tuition waivers available to state university employees and their children, upon reaching seven years of employment, be eliminated because of the struggling state budget.

SIUC joined the University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University March 20 in opposition of the bill.

SIU President Glenn Poshard said he testified twice against the proposal. He said a large percentage — 60 percent — of people using the benefit are civil service workers with lower salaries.

“I think in the end after listening to a lot of people talk about that and especially the way it affected our faculty and the ability to recruit good faculty and staff … they saw the reasoning for the policy that’s been enforced,” he said.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said the tuition waiver is an important benefit to the university’s faculty and staff. She said she is thankful representatives recognized the significance of it.

“Many of our employees have worked here for a long time and have worked for lower salaries, and have stayed with us because of this benefit,” Cheng said.

Rep. Luis Arroyo, who proposed the bill, said it would save the state $387 million, according to the Illinois Education Association website. However, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, it would only have saved about $8 million.

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About Tara Kulash

You can reach Tara at tkulash@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext. 255.

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