(110 ILCS 947/5)
    Sec. 5. Purpose. The General Assembly finds and declares that (1) the provision of a higher education for all residents of this State who desire a higher education and are properly qualified therefor is important to the welfare and security of this State and Nation and, consequently, is an important public purpose, and (2) many qualified students are deterred by financial considerations from completing their education, with a consequent irreparable loss to the State and Nation of talents vital to welfare and security. The number of qualified persons who desire a higher education is increasing rapidly, and the physical facilities, faculties, and staffs of the institutions of higher learning operated by, within and for the residents of the State will have to be expanded greatly to accommodate those persons, with an attendant sharp increase in the cost of educating them. A system of financial assistance of scholarships, grants, and loans for qualified residents of college age will enable them to attend qualified institutions of their choice in the State, public or private. The adoption of new federal student loan legislation necessitates that the State update and broaden its system of financial student assistance.
    As market conditions permit, the Commission is specifically encouraged to offer reasonable and affordable supplemental or alternative educational loans to students who seek to obtain these loans. As part of these alternative or supplemental direct lending initiatives, the Commission may give priority consideration to students assisted by the Commission's need-based programs.
    The system of financial assistance provided under this Act includes prepaid programs for college savings, and the Commission is specifically encouraged to enlist employers in providing voluntary matching donations to the amount that their employees save through these prepaid programs.
(Source: P.A. 96-198, eff. 8-10-09.)