SPRINGFIELD – The burdensome costs of textbooks and course materials for college students often deters them from making the purchase, which in turn can cause a learning barrier and hinder a student’s grades. Members of the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus outlined a plan during a press conference Wednesday to break down those barriers.

Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is leading a measure – Senate Bill 819 – to allow students who receive MAP Grants to use the funds for room and board, as well as coursework materials including books, software and website access. Currently, MAP Grants can only be used for tuition and necessary fee costs.

“While there are initiatives that ease the financial burden of higher education, there are many essentials to university success, such as textbooks, electronics, and nearby housing, that are often overlooked,” Senator Fine said. “We need to make these resources more accessible to students from all economic backgrounds so that they can be successful as they pursue their education.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that even as tuition has risen, no cost of college life has increased faster than textbooks. The bureau found that book prices rose 88% between 2006 and 2016, and the College Board — which administers the SAT exam — reported that students budget more than $1,200 each year for textbooks and other class supplies, including technology.

Under Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) Senate Bill 3856, public universities and community colleges would be required to provide all necessary coursework materials for rental free of charge for Illinois students.

Many public universities and community colleges, such as Southern Illinois University, already include free textbook rentals in their tuition and fee costs for all students. Recent studies have found that these more affordable course materials can deliver student cost savings of 29% to 35% annually.

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Bennett Remote Office Hours March

RANTOUL – To give more residents the opportunity to visit his office with comments and concerns, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is hosting additional office hours in Rantoul.

The next remote office hours event will be held Wednesday, April 13 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Rantoul Public Library, located at 106 W. Flessner Ave. Bennett invites residents to stop by for help with state services or simply to discuss issues facing the community.

“We remain committed to ensuring our office is easily accessible to residents throughout the area,” Bennett said. “I encourage anyone who needs assistance, has ideas or just wants to talk to attend.”

Bennett invites residents to visit for help accessing state services and to discuss legislative matters directly.

Bennett will also host office hours on May 11 and June 8 in Rantoul. To stay up to date on events Bennett’s office is hosting, residents can visit SenatorBennett.com.

Bennett SeniorFraud Flyer

 

DANVILLE – To inform and educate local residents on the latest frauds and scams, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is hosting a fraud prevention seminar with Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office.

The free informational seminar will be held on Wednesday, April 20 at 3 p.m. at the Danville Public Library located at 319 N. Vermilion St. in Danville.

“Scammers are getting more and more creative over the phone and internet, and they’re targeting older Illinoisans’ wallets,” Bennett said. “Join me next month and learn how to protect yourself.”

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Open business 2022 B2BCHAMPAIGN – Local businesses in Champaign and Vermilion Counties were awarded more than $8.2 million in funding from the Back to Business program thanks to advocacy and support from State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign).

“We’re starting to see businesses move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there are still some that need a helping hand to fully recover,” Bennett said. “Grant programs like Back to Business have been vital to keeping the doors of thousands of small businesses across the state open.”

The B2B grants are awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity using funds allocated to them by the American Rescue Plan through last year’s state budget.

So far – thanks to strong support from Senator Bennett – DCEO has provided $200 million in B2B grants to small businesses throughout the state with an emphasis on disproportionately impacted areas. With nearly $50 million left to go, more businesses will have the opportunity to get a share of the relief funds.

“Every dollar is important for our small business community,” Bennett said. “I’m glad to see so many businesses in Champaign and Vermilion County take advantage of this opportunity.”

Grants will continue to be awarded on a rolling basis. Visit the DCEO website for more information on the B2B program or check the status of an existing application by logging into the portal.

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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507