CHICAGO – Undocumented and transgender students in Illinois will now be eligible to receive state financial aid for higher education as Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act into law today. State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.

“Every student, regardless of their immigration status or gender identity, deserves full access to higher education,” said Aquino. “Now that we will provide these students with the means to attend an institution of higher education, we will see a massive return on investment when they graduate and enter the workforce as productive employees.”

The RISE Act, filed under House Bill 2691, allows transgender students who have not registered for selective service and undocumented Illinois residents to apply for state financial aid such as the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant.

Aquino worked with students and immigration activists to develop the bill with Representative Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero).

House Bill 2691 takes effect January 1, 2020.