Senator GillespieARLINGTON HEIGHTS – A measure offered by State Senator Ann Gillespie to waive school fees for students experiencing homelessness was signed into law on Friday.

“A student’s ability to pay should not determine the learning resources they have available to them,” said Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights). “Students of all backgrounds deserve access to the tools they need for success, and this law ensures that our most vulnerable students will have them.”

House Bill 5265 requires school districts to waive all school fees for homeless students, including fines for loss of school property such as textbooks. The new law further requires school districts to purchase enough textbooks for students whose families are unable to purchase them.

Currently, fee waivers are only offered to students who qualify for the federal free breakfast and lunch program. House Bill 5265 establishes a process for school districts to expand eligibility.

The measure was an initiative of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and is supported by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Advance Illinois and Heartland Alliance.

House Bill 5265 was signed by the governor on Friday and is effective immediately.