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SPRINGFIELD — After failing to eliminate the General Assembly tuition waiver program, the Illinois Senate approved legislation Tuesday that will simply prevent lawmakers from handing out the perks to family members.

Members of the House and Senate have the ability to hand out public university scholarships to students who live in their districts. However, it is completely up to legislators as to who gets the awards, and the lawmakers have been criticized for using them to reward friends or campaign contributors.

The sponsor of the measure, state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R- Hinsdale, said he chooses not to give the scholarships out anymore.

“It closes a loophole in a program that in my estimation should be totally abolished,” he said of House Bill 1353.

The General Assembly handed out $13.9 million in tuition waivers in fiscal year 2010.

The measure, approved without opposition, now goes to the governor’s desk.

College funding proposal OK’d

SPRINGFIELD — A proposal that would base some state funding for universities on measurements like degree completion now goes to the governor’s desk.

The legislation, designed to reward universities for student success, is sponsored by state Sen. Ed Maloney, D-Chicago.

“Higher education institutions will adopt measures to improve academic results and ensure funds are spent most efficiently,” Maloney said in a statement.

The proposal was sponsored in the House by state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

The legislation is House Bill 1503.

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