Durkin Votes to End General Assembly Scholarships

SPRINGFIELD— State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) voted to end General Assembly Scholarships in the future. House Bill 3810 passed the House 79-32 and will soon be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

“These scholarships have recently come under much criticism, not only because of the state’s financial constraints, but also because of abuses in the system,” said Durkin. “I do not believe these should be awarded. I voluntarily eliminated scholarships from my district four years ago.”
In 2011, 1,327 tuition waivers were awarded in Illinois, costing the State $13,508,800. This $13.5 million is an unfunded mandate on State universities, where the cost is then passed on to other students paying tuition.

In November Durkin also called on all members of the Illinois General Assembly to voluntarily stop handing out legislative scholarships. Durkin said a recent Chicago Tribune investigation which disclosed that two children and a nephew of a lobbyist/union leader were given legislative scholarships further illustrates examples of abuse.

“Support for this program is indefensible. There is a federal investigation underway for alleged misuse of the program and our state universities can no longer afford to support the scholarship program,” said Rep. Durkin.