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Lt. gov. outlines steps to keep college affordable

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is urging lawmakers and education officials to help keep college affordable.

Simon spoke during a tour of Northern Illinois University and called a college degree a prerequisite for students to get jobs that pay well. She says a college-educated workforce also will help Illinois attract high-wage, high-skill jobs.

The College Board estimated costs at public and private universities nationwide rose more than 4 percent this school year. The cost of community college increased more than 5 percent.

Simon says lawmakers should make the tuition tax credit known as the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent. It's scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

She also says state Monetary Award Program grants should be awarded based on financial need, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis.

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