Restored MAP funding gives local colleges a boost

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GALESBURG — Local colleges are collecting their MAP grant funding for the 2016-2017 school year via the new state budget, allowing them to funnel their resources elsewhere. 

In total, Knox College has received a little more than $1.5 million in MAP funding to cover 334 students. Carl Sandburg College received $580,000 for 483 students, and the school expects to collect more to cover another 55 students, for a total of slightly over $600,000 in MAP funding. 

Though the funds could have come earlier considering the schools are now planning for the next school year, it’s better late than never for MAP recipients. Lisa Hanson, director of financial aid for Carl Sandburg, said many of Sandburg’s MAP students borrowed money from family or friends or assumed excessive debt to make up for the delayed funding, which they’ll now be able to pay back. 

“I have two students who work in our office and one will be going to ISU next year, and it was a real help for her because it’ll allow her to make a deposit for housing,” Hanson said. “My other student worker, she’ll be getting MAP funds, and she’s had to scramble for transportation. This’ll allow her to put money back into her car.”

The funding will relieve the burden on administrations as well. Knox would have used money from its endowment to cover funding for MAP students had the state not passed a budget. Now the administration does not need to dip into that resource and the endowment can continue to grow for other purposes, said Karrie Heartlein, director of government and community affairs for Knox. 

Monmouth College had also planned to cover funding for its MAP students if needed. The college just received $1.7 million in MAP funding on Thursday and hopes to collect the remaining funds soon, for a total of $2.2 million to cover 540 students. 

The college can now look at all the funding requests it received from various departments and address ones that had been put on hold during the budget crisis. Those could range from new equipment for labs, more resources for the library or even new study abroad programs, said Duane Bonifer, executive director of communications and marketing for the college. 

“People would say at meetings, ‘that’s something to talk about when the state of Illinois gets its act together,’” Bonifer said. “Campus-wide, everyone was sort of ‘in’; you didn’t have one group of people or one department saying, ‘we’ve had enough, we need to have our needs fulfilled right now.’ I think it’s just a great testament to the community and the family atmosphere of this place. Everyone pulled together and I think everyone did a real nice job.”

While Sandburg would not have been able to cover MAP grant funds, it planned its 2017-2018 budget without expecting to receive any state funds. Now that the funds have come in, Hanson expected the school would put state money back into its accounts to replenish what the college used to help cover expenses during the budget crisis.

The three schools have also been tracking the activity of the state government and preparing for the future, in the event that the legislative history of the past two years repeats itself. Hanson said Sandburg has been looking “very closely” at its expenses and making sure the college can cover them with minimal assistance from the state.

Heartlein did not know how deep the Knox administration’s conversations had been regarding independence from state funding, but she thought it was concerning that the Illinois General Assembly and Gov. Rauner could not agree on a budget year after year. 

“You get into dangerous waters when you have to start building contingency plans because the state of Illinois is not honoring its promises,” Heartlein said. “I think it’s something we all have to think about very seriously.”

Monmouth is in the process of restructuring its budget model and income strategy so it can be fiscally independent from all types of government funds. The college hopes to grow its endowment so that one day, state and federal money will be “extras” and not financing students’ education, Bonifer said. The plan seems off to a positive start, as the college received a $20 million endowment commitment from an anonymous donor in April. 

Bonifer said many colleges across the nation have been looking at how they can become financially solvent without much government aid, but the situation seemed to amplify in Illinois with the state budget crisis. 

“We think the horizon might look good now, but the dark clouds are going to reappear and we’re going to have more problems in the future,” Bonifer said. “We want to control our destiny and our future, and the way to do that is to be as fiscally independent as possible. If anything, I think the last couple of years have been a wake-up call on that.”

 

Rebecca Susmarski: (309) 343-7181, ext. 261; rsusmarski@register-mail.com; @RSusmarski

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July 23, 2017 at 08:01AM

Restored MAP funding gives local colleges a boost

MAP Grant funding available to Lake Land College students

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The recently passed Illinois state budget means Lake Land College students who qualified for financial aid from the state will receive it for the 2017-2018 school year.

This form of financial aid is called the MAP grant and it does not have to be repaid. To help students who are making higher education decisions for fall 2017, the college is applying MAP grants to accounts for students who qualify.

Students can check their MAP grant status by logging into their Laker Hub account and selecting �Financial Aid� under the IRIS menu on the left and then �Award Letter.� While in the Laker Hub, students can register for New Student Orientation or call 217-234-5301.

For many students, a MAP grant combined with a Pell grant, both of which do not have to be repaid, will cover all tuition and fees for Lake Land College for the year. Tuition and fees for one year are about $3,900, nearly a fourth of tuition and fees at the average state university.

Lake Land College assures students who qualify will receive the MAP grant financial aid for the fall 2017 semester, which starts Aug. 21. There is plenty of time for new students to get started! Visit lakelandcollege.edu and look for the �Enroll Now� button or call 217-234-5254.

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July 21, 2017 at 03:28AM

MAP Grant funding available to Lake Land College students

Righter, Phillips offer more insight into their budget votes

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MATTOON — Two local Republican state lawmakers saw the recent series of budget votes as a necessary evil, according to their comments made Wednesday.

In a discussion with constituents and the JG-TC Editorial Board, Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, and Reggie Phillips, R-Charleston, stood behind their votes that garnered negative responses among residents in their districts.

For Righter, the vote on the budget package July 4 was easily the “toughest” in his career.

“I’ve cast thousands of votes in my time in the General Assembly and there was never one that I didn’t want to cast more than I did on the Fourth of July,” Righter said.

Righter, who was a part of the negotiation talks leading up to the budget pact and vote, did not see an end to the budget impasse that had plagued the state for two years. And come that July 4 vote, Righter became the only Republican state senator to vote “yes” on the $36 billion budget package that included an unpopular tax hike.

According to the Associated Press, the revenue-generating measure that state lawmakers voted on raised the income tax rate by 32 percent. The approved measure increased the personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Corporations will pay 7 percent instead of 5.25 percent.

“No one wants to pay more taxes,” Righter said. “And I’ll guarantee you: The person for whom that is more intense is the person who casts the vote to make people pay more taxes and gets to pay them as well.”

Despite his reluctant vote, Righter defended his choice, saying it was better for the district than the alternative.

“After two plus years, I felt like the state and my district had run out of time,” Righter said.

He said the $36.3 billion balanced budget was better than the estimated $40 billion the state would have had to pay through court orders and consent decrees, which until recently had become the appropriating process over these past two years.

The spending would have just been on autopilot as state lawmakers continued to toil away at a compromise between Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratic-led state legislature, Righter said.

The state senator noted that the budget is less spending than the $37.1 billion budget the Republican governor proposed. Rauner and other Republican state lawmakers continue to be staunch critics of the approved budget.

Righter said his vote came down to getting a budget, having it balanced and tackling the backlog of bills that have reached $15 billion.

Righter said that based on revenue projections, some of which come out of the governor’s office, the budget is balanced.

“If the executive branch doesn’t manage it, you will end up with a deficit,” Righter noted.

Righter said higher education institutions in his district also played a role in his vote.

Phillips’ thought process mirrored that of Righter’s when voting “yes” on the bills and the preceding overrides of Rauner’s vetoes. Phillips was one of 10 Republicans in the House to do so.

Phillips said that a tax hike was coming no matter what, looking at options that were available. The only difference would be the how and the why, Phillips said.

Negotiations on reforms that could be tied to the bill were stalling. They stopped in June, he said. And, for him, he didn’t see an end to the stalemate outside of the move he and other lawmakers made at the start of July.

Leading up to the budget vote, Phillips said he received numerous calls from business owners stressing the impact that declining enrollment at Eastern Illinois University was having on their businesses across his district.

Phillips said he was in support of many of Rauner’s reforms, but it was time to end the stalemate in Springfield.

“I believe in the governor, but people have lost their jobs,” Phillips said.

So, Phillips told the Republican leaders that he was voting “yes” on the package and when the bills came up for a vote, he pressed his button, went to his office to close up, and left for the day.

“I wasn’t happy I was put in that position,” he said. “We should have negotiated (by then).

“I did not like to vote ‘yes,’” he added.

Both of the local lawmakers said they did not see letting the state “burn” as a viable option.

“There are some people in this government and around this government who just think this should be a forest fire exercise,” Righter said. “Just let ‘er burn in hopes that something new and refreshing and wonderful will grow up. I am not sure I ascribe to that.”

Since the budget vote, Phillips and Righter have received hundreds of responses about their decisions — many, but not all, negative and some that leaned into threatening territory.

Phillips said he received threats from people saying they would “hang him up from the courthouse lawn.” But Phillips said, for him, the response has been largely positive, though. Righter said most comments he’s getting are negative, but he understands people’s frustration.

While appropriations have been set, the budget battle is not entirely over. State lawmakers are now coming to a standstill on an evidence-based K-12 funding formula.

Both local lawmakers remain optimistic for movement on reforms. Righter said the reforms Republicans have been calling for are still moving forward.

“I trust that the Democrats know they need reforms,” Phillips said.

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July 20, 2017 at 08:12PM

Righter, Phillips offer more insight into their budget votes

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

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The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 … minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to 47-hundred dollars to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

 

“This was good. I applaud the general assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP.”

 

Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade, now chairs the state board of higher education. Even this increase, he says, isn’t enough.

 

“We could — in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP — we actually need more money.” 

 

He says he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois.

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July 19, 2017 at 03:40AM

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

http://ift.tt/2tp6Erk

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 … minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to 47-hundred dollars to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

 

“This was good. I applaud the general assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP.”

 

Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade, now chairs the state board of higher education. Even this increase, he says, isn’t enough.

 

“We could — in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP — we actually need more money.” 

 

He says he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois.

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July 19, 2017 at 03:40AM

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

http://ift.tt/2tp6Erk

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 … minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to 47-hundred dollars to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

 

“This was good. I applaud the general assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP.”

 

Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade, now chairs the state board of higher education. Even this increase, he says, isn’t enough.

 

“We could — in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP — we actually need more money.” 

 

He says he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois.

01-All No Sub,02-Pol,03-HL 20,04-Pens 2,12-Coll,16-Econ,HE Blog,HE Coalition

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July 19, 2017 at 03:40AM

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost

http://ift.tt/2tp6Erk

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 … minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.

The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to 47-hundred dollars to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos. Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.

 

“This was good. I applaud the general assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP.”

 

Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade, now chairs the state board of higher education. Even this increase, he says, isn’t enough.

 

“We could — in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP — we actually need more money.” 

 

He says he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois.

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July 19, 2017 at 03:40AM

MAP Grant Funding Gets A Boost