For the second time, students began this school year without a (Monetary Award Program) MAP grant budget from the state of Illinois. Last semester, it was said that the grant wouldn’t be discussed after the presidential elections in past November. However, students have yet to hear an update on this budget.
MAP grants are funds provided to eligible students who demonstrate a financial need and attend an approved college in Illinois. These grants don’t need to be repaid and are based on the student’s information on the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Every year, the State budget is approved by the Illinois General Assembly. However, last year governor Bruce Rauner and the General Assembly didn’t reach an agreement for 2016 fiscal year. This lead to MAP funds being eventually released until April and June of 2016. Now, as last year’s fiscal year, 2017 is yet to have a budget approved.
“We are hopeful that the State will pass a comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2017 (corresponding to the 2016-17 academic year) that will include funding for MAP. While the governor and legislators have expressed their support for MAP funding, there is currently no MAP appropriation for the 2016-17 academic year. A budget is not expected until sometime after January 24, 2017, when the General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene,” reads Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) on their website.
“As of January 24, 2017, MAP and ISAC’s other gift assistance programs are not yet funded for the 2016-17 academic year,” reads ISAC on their website, “Notably, the governor and legislators in both chambers indicated that they are still interested in providing ‘an appropriate level of support’ for MAP in fiscal year 2017. The General Assembly reconvened in January and it is anticipated that they will work on developing a comprehensive budget for the fiscal year during their session.”
Although the MAP grant is listed on eligible students’ financial aid award letter, ISAC’s website states that, while they are hopeful, they “cannot guarantee” students will receive the money. “MAP has been included in every comprehensive Illinois budget since 1967, and funding was ultimately provided for 2015-16 MAP awards, albeit at the very end of the fiscal year. We are hopeful that the State will pass a comprehensive budget for fiscal year 2017 (corresponding to the 2016-17 academic year) that will include funding for MAP.”
More than half of SXU’s undergraduate students receive these grants. Today, SXU students participated for the second time in a rally at the State Capitol in order to “urge Governor Rauner and State Legislators to release funds for MAP grants.” Students from other public and private universities also attended such as Loyola University, Dominican University and DePaul University.
The rally began at 1:00pm and concluded at. Following the rally, students expressed their concerns to the legislators.
SXU has been very active at advocating for MAP grants. Last year, SXU students also raised awareness on this matter through rallies, social media and visits to Springfield.
Additionally, SXU student Lauren Jordan created last year’s MAP logo for the #MAPMATTERS movement. The design was used in all rallies and universities that took part in refunding the grant. Jordan created the logo through SXU’s Collegiate Scholars of Marketing and Communication Association (CSMCA).
For questions you may visit the Financial Aid Office in room A-216.
Senior News Editor
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February 8, 2017 at 02:35PM