Illinois lawmakers push for new Big Ten school - – Rockford’s News Leader

Illinois lawmakers push for new Big Ten school


Two suburban lawmakers are pushing for the creation of another Big Ten school in Illinois, to help promote lower tuition and keep home-grown talent in the state.

To achieve that goal, Republican state Senators Matt Murphy of Palatine and Michael Connelly of Naperville have introduced Senate Bill 3526, which will create a commission to look into the possibility of establishing an existing public Illinois university as a Big Ten school. The measure passed the Senate Higher Education Committee Wednesday and is expected to be called for a Senate vote soon.

The senators said they came up with the idea after learning that more and more suburban Illinois students are leaving the state to go to other, expensive, Big Ten schools outside of Illinois. Since it's the fifth-largest state in the country, having just one flagship Big Ten university, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, creates a competitive admission process.

If SB3526 passes, the resulting commission would be comprised of higher education professionals, a member from each of the four caucuses, an Illinois resident paying out of state tuition to a Big Ten school, and a student from Illinois who left the state to attend another Big Ten university. The commission's findings would be due to the General Assembly by January 1, 2015.

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