“Aim High” Name Inspired by Former Charleston High School Principal
SPRINGFIELD- A statewide pilot program designed to help keep the best and brightest students in Illinois could soon become permanent, now that the Illinois Senate has passed legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) to make the AIM HIGH scholarship program permanent.
“This program and its expansion are results of bipartisan and bicameral cooperation between the members of the higher education working group, of which I am a member. I am honored to have played an important role in not just creating what has become a very popular tool for keeping Illinois’ best and brightest in state, but now expanding and making it permanent,” said Rose. “Before AIM HIGH, our universities had been at an extreme disadvantage in terms of keeping Illinois’ top graduating high school seniors in Illinois. AIM HIGH offers them an important recruiting and retention tool, and it also helps to stem the ongoing brain drain caused by top-tier students leaving the state.”
The initial AIM HIGH program was conceived in response to issues faced by state universities, who were increasingly losing out on many of the best and brightest to out-of-state schools that were able to offer better scholarships.
The name, “AIM HIGH,” was inspired by a Senator Rose’s Charleston High School principal, Dean Tucker, whose license plate was “Aim High.”
The original AIM HIGH, which was passed as a pilot program after Rose had originally proposed the concept a few years earlier, was set to expire in 2024. House Bill 301 makes the program permanent, expands opportunities by increasing matching levels for universities, and updates rules to help improve and grow the program.
“To see my dream not just come to reality, but now be made permanent and be expanded to serve even more Illinois students and families, is a pretty special moment for me. College costs are way too high, and we are losing too many kids out of state. Aim High will, at least, add one more arrow to our public four-year universities’ quivers to attract and retain students here in Illinois,” Rose concluded.
House Bill 301 has now passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and awaits the signature of the Governor to become law.