By Grant Riggs, Editor-in-Chief
On Wednesday, February 8, a group of McKendree students attended a rally at the Capitol building in Springfield, IL. in support of higher education and the MAP grant. The grant, which does not require repayment and is given to Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges, has provided numerous students the opportunity to attend college.
The trip included individual meetings with Illinois State Senators and Representatives, as well as the actual rally, which was held by The Illinois Coalition to Invest in Higher Education. The rally was led by Dave Tretter, president of The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, and included Western Illinois University President Dr. Jack Thomas as one of its speakers.
Dave Tretter speaks at the rally last Wednesday in Springfield, IL.
“These trips to Springfield provide a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience democracy in action,” said Dr. Ann Collins, one of the groups’ leaders. “They did a great job of sharing their stories with our state legislators and stressing why supporting higher education is good for our state.”
In an individual meeting with four McKendree students, Illinois Senator Kyle McCarter, a resident of Lebanon, IL., pointed to Illinois professors demands of high pensions as a reason for the MAP grant’s lack of funding. Conversely, the lack of a state budget was not among the reasons given by McCarter to explain the lack of funding.
“I decided to attend the rally because I wanted to see public policy in the raw,” said Matt Hendricks, a sophomore at McKendree University. “What I saw was politicians who do not care.”
A similar rally was held last April outside of the Capitol building.