ROCK ISLAND – State Senator Mike Halpin highlighted a major funding victory for Illinois colleges on the work they do to recruit veterans.

“The state has done the right thing by requiring our universities to accept Illinois veterans, but for too long we have failed to provide the funding for this program,” said Halpin (D-Rock Island). “Addressing this unfunded mandate will allow our universities to continue to recruit veterans and begin to repay the debt we owe them for their service.”

Halpin successfully secured $6 million for the Illinois Veteran Grant Program (IVG) and Illinois Nation Guard Grant Program (ING) at Illinois colleges and universities. The funding was allocated in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which was signed into law on Wednesday.

Public universities were last reimbursed for the IVG and ING programs in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, but public universities have been waiving the fees for students without reimbursement spreading the cost out on the rest of the student population. With the inclusion of $6 million for these programs, universities will be able to recruit more veterans because the state will help pick up the cost.

“Funding Illinois Veterans Grant Scholarships are a win, win for the State of Illinois,” said Dr. Kristi Mindrup, interim president of Western Illinois University. “For the first time in over a decade, Illinois will fund education opportunities for veterans at our state universities. The investment provides funding for higher education institutions and is a direct benefit to those who have served our country. We thank all those that were involved in including this funding in the budget.”

For more information about both grant programs, visit the Illinois Student Assistance Commission website.