CALUMET CITY | State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, said he wants area college students to consider applying for a scholarship program maintained by the General Assembly’s Black Caucus.
Jones, who also is a member of the City Council, said at a recent council meeting that people should consider applying for funds from the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.
The Foundation has maintained a scholarship fund that will provide students a one-time gift of $1,000 to help them pay tuition at a university or community college.
Students must live in a legislative district represented by one of the 21 black members of the Illinois House of Representatives, or 10 black members of the state Senate, to qualify. Area Black Caucus members include Jones, along with state Reps. Elgie Sims and Marcus Evans, both D-Chicago; Will Davis, D-Homewood; and Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields; along with state Sens. Donne Trotter, D-Chicago; Napoleon Harris, D-Flossmoor; and Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields.
“Students need to check this out because it can offer them help in paying tuition,” said Jones, who said each caucus member could have up to three students from their respective legislative district receive scholarships.
A memorandum from Foundation Executive Director Maze Jackson to Black Caucus members said up to 50 $1,000 scholarships will be provided this year.
Students interested in applying for the scholarship have until April 30 to submit an application, which can be obtained on the Foundation’s website at Illinoislbc.com. Applications must be submitted by mail to Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Selection Committee, P.O. Box 12104, Springfield, Ill., 62791.
Recipients will be notified later in the spring by letter, according to the Foundation’s website.
The Black Caucus’ scholarship program has been in place since 2012, which was the same year the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the long-standing tuition waiver program all legislators used to have.
When the Illinois Legislature finally did away with the program, it was without the support of Black Caucus members, who said the people living in many of their lower-income districts were in need of more funding sources to help them attend college.
Jones said the Black Caucus program isn’t a direct replacement, but serves a worthy purpose.
“This is a way for the caucus to give something to students to help them complete their educations,” he said.