By: Maria Wittenauer
For the third year running, the State of Illinois is unable to fund the MAP Grant program that provides scholarships to many college students who rely on them, due to not passing a budget for the fiscal year of 2017. Also for the third year running, Illinois College will cover the scholarship money that MAP Grants would normally provide for a large number of its students.
According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, MAP (Monetary Award Program) grants provide the monetary assistance that do not require students to repay them. The grants are for students who are “Illinois residents who attend approved Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need, based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).” They do not require that students give their high school grades or test scores in applications for the grants. The money only goes “toward tuition and mandatory fees.” On this website, application information is still given. The note states that the information on the site is based on the 2015 fiscal year, which was the last year that the State of Illinois successfully released a “final full-year budget.” It goes on to say, “the state budget that funds MAP for 2016-17 has not yet been finalized by the Illinois General Assembly and governor. As a result, it is not known how much funding this program will receive.” It then encourages students to revisit the site frequently for news on the budget and funding. The information was last updated on February 3, which states that Illinois may not be able to fund the grants for 2017, since which Illinois failed to pass a final full-year budget.
Since Illinois can indeed not fund the grants this year, Illinois students who rely on these scholarships now look to their respective schools to provide the money to fund them. As students of Illinois College, we need not worry about our MAP grant scholarships being funded. A part of Illinois College’s official statement on the subject includes that, “families and students are working hard to make higher education a reality while the State’s continued budget impasses puts their futures at risk by holding MAP grant funding hostage. Illinois College is dedicated to student success and access and will continue to do all we can during this challenging time to support our students.” IC also clarifies that the initiative is not limited to current students, but also applies to incoming freshmen and transfer students. Thanks to the Illinois College Board of Trustees, students who rely on these MAP grants will not have to worry that they will not be able to attend college anymore. The decision to cover the funds was unanimous among the Board of Trustees.
A full update on the college’s decision to fund its students can be found on IC’s website.
Maria Wittenauer, from Springfield, Illinois, is a junior double-majoring in theatre and communication and rhetorical studies and minoring in English at Illinois College. Maria is a features editor for The Rambler, a consultant at the Writing Center, and a member of Gamma Delta and the IC Women’s Chorale.