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posted: 7/30/2014 7:34 AM

Harper trustee to lead statewide community college advocacy group

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Harper College News Bureau

Harper College Trustee Bill Kelley has taken over the reins of Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA), a statewide group that has been a vocal advocate for increasing state funding for all community colleges in Illinois. Kelley will serve as president of the ICCTA after being elected as vice president of the group last year. The ICCTA president serves a one-year term and receives no compensation.

The ICCTA has been working closely with the state legislators to increase support of community colleges, which enroll 64 percent of college students in Illinois but receive just 12 percent of the state's higher education budget. Under the original concept, the state was to fund a third of a community college's costs, with property tax revenue and tuition covering the other two-thirds. Harper College, for instance, is projected to receive about $7 million in state support this year, or just 6.3 percent of the College's revenues.

"There is no doubt cuts in state support have been a main driver of tuition increases at community colleges," Kelley said. "To remain true to our mission, community colleges must remain affordable and accessible to all students."

Kelley said the ICCTA will continue to advocate for increased access to state MAP grants and full funding of the state's Veterans Grant program. The group will also highlight programs and practices that increase completion rates at community colleges and actively promote the affordability and value of community colleges compared to four-year colleges and universities.

"As the cost of higher education continues to spiral upward, it is increasingly evident that community colleges provide an economically sound solution to people furthering their education and honing their skills for jobs that can provide a livable wage," he said.

Bill Kelley is the managing partner of Kelley, Kelley & Kelley, a family-run, full-service law firm in Schaumburg. He concentrates his practice in transactional law, commercial, business and corporate areas, estate and succession planning, asset protection, civil and commercial litigation. Kelley also serves as President of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association. Kelley completed his Juris Doctor cum laude at Loyola University of Chicago and earned his baccalaureate degree cum laude, also at Loyola University. He lives in Schaumburg with his wife, Jeanne, and has three children.

More information can be found at communitycolleges.org, kelleykelleykelley.com and harpercollege.edu.

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