The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is surveying college students about the lack of funding for grants for the next semester as lawmakers continue their state budget standoff.
This week, the agency sent out a survey to students who are eligible for the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants. The survey was emailed to students and a suburban mother of two college-aged sons shared it with Reboot Illinois.
The commission is the state agency responsible for administering the state’s student financial aid programs, including Monetary Award Program, and officials expect the survey will help them answer how the state budget impasse is affecting students’ academic standing and ability to continue their education.
On June 30, the state approved a stopgap budget, which provided full funding for fiscal year 2016 MAP grants. However, no state funds were appropriated for the current, 2016-2017 school year.
ISAC managing director of communication Lynne Baker said the survey is paired with another one that went out see how colleges are handling the second year of delayed map grants.
Here is part of the survey introduction:
While legislators in both chambers have expressed their support for MAP, they have not yet provided funding for academic year 2016-17. A recent survey of schools indicated that some schools credited MAP awards to student accounts for the first term of 2016-17 with the expectation that they would be reimbursed by the state once funding was available. However, some colleges have not been able to do so. We are interested in what effect, if any, the delay in MAP funding is having on your educational goals.
The survey includes four multiple-choice questions that ask respondents if they attended college during the 2015-2016 term and their current status. The survey then goes on to ask if the MAP funding for academic year 2016-2017 affected the respondent’s enrollment for the current school year and how.
This isn’t the first time ISAC surveyed students. Last June, ISAC sent out a similar survey and found one out of seven respondents said they would not “return to school for the remainder of the 2016 term or would have extreme difficulty in doing so.”
From the November 2016 ISAC student survey
Baker said ISAC already received “a ton” of responses from the current survey, but declined to give a specific number. She said ISAC will be releasing the results of both surveys in the coming weeks.
The commission provides need-based funding to Illinois students to help cover tuition and mandatory fees for more than 125,000 students per year. More than 105,000 students received MAP grants last year. Students have until Friday, December 2 to complete the survey.