The Illinois Senate agreed Thursday to stop letting lawmakers hand out free college education to certain constituents, removing the final roadblock to ending a century-old practice plagued by allegations of corruption and political favoritism, the Associated Press reports. Legislators and government watchdogs said the program might have survived if lawmakers hadn’t abused the perk by awarding tuition waivers to the children of political allies and campaign donors. Critics said the decision to scrap the program was a reminder that corruption hurts all residents – including students who are just seeking help to pay for their higher education.
“It’s important to come to an end, but it’s hard to call anything a victory that ends up taking anything away from students, most of whom deserve to attend college,” said Emily Miller, policy and government affairs coordinator for the Better Government Association. “It did become a symbol of corruption, and that’s a defeat for the students who should have benefited.”