payitforward bennett2 040122

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) joined his colleagues at a press conference in Springfield Friday to outline a more than $1.8 billion inflation-addressing relief plan that would wipe out state taxes on back-to-school shopping and groceries, stop rising gas taxes and deliver income and property tax refund checks statewide.

“This plan gets money back in the hands of consumers. They’ve endured through this pandemic. It’s time for the state to pay it forward,” Bennett said.

Under their plan, the state would directly deliver relief checks valued at $100 per person and $50 per child to state taxpayers making up to $250,000 individually or up to $500,000 jointly. A household of four could see a $300 check.

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SPRINGFIELD – To reduce the cost of course materials and make them more accessible to Illinois students, Senate Higher Education Committee Chair Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) advanced legislation through the Senate to save students money.

“Cost and convenience play an important role for students when purchasing their course materials,” Bennett said. “With this legislation, higher education institutions will put course materials in students’ hands the right way and at the right price.”

Under the measure, students would receive digital access to their online course materials at a significantly reduced cost. These materials can be viewed on a computer, laptop or smartphone on the first day of class.

Bennett worked closely with the University of Illinois on this legislation to ensure students are set up for success by offering students maximum choice in selecting the learning resources that are right for them at the lowest market price. 

“Students want affordable course materials, and colleges and universities want to make sure students have the materials they need to thrive,” Bennett said. “This measure addresses accessibility and affordability head on.”

House Bill 4724 now goes to the governor for his approval.

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.

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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