-By John Dillon. John’s blog can be found here.
Over 125,000 university level students in Illinois – students who have met the criteria for receiving financial assistance as they struggle to advance financially and vocationally – will no longer be provided with the support they so desperately need after Bruce Rauner vetoed the MAP Grant Funding Bill on February 19th, 2016.
You might not be aware what MAP Grants are for the students and many others who qualify under the careful watch of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the federally operated Free Application for Student Aid.
So, what is a Map Grant?
MAP Fund money is Monetary Assistance Program money delivered to individuals meeting federally determined timelines and requirements for state monies to be used for educational purposes in secondary settings – in Illinois, university settings. The timelines and threshold for meeting these requirements are firm and stringent; and the state program’s total $721 million bill is often utilized quickly. In fact, the amount of money set aside for this important gateway to further the education of those in demand of assistance has by and large remained sadly static over the last years. On the other hand, the needs in our grinding economy have increased exponentially.
By the way, every state has its own version of this program.
In Illinois, the most an expectant recipient can expect to receive is less than $4800 in eventual maximum awards. As a grant, the money provided is considered an investment on the part of the state for further benefits in return of employments, taxation, etc.
This might sound like a free offering that could be easily rigged; however, under the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, worthy and needy students seeking financial assistance in the state are provided tuition money only if they meet certain requirements, such as: state and federal citizenship, documentable financial need, enrollment in an approved educational system for a minimum of hours, compliance with Social Service System registration, a maintained history of satisfactory academic progress, no default in any other loans (private or public), and having fallen short of the maximum 75 hours of MAP hour credits.
In Rauner’s State of the Budget speech on February 17th, the Governor promised his audience, ”If we do this (follow his ideological turnaround agenda)– if we come together to fix our long-term challenges – we will deliver world class education to every child in Illinois – no matter where they live or where they came from.
Sadly, less than three days after this conditional ultimatum to the General Assembly, Rauner vetoed any money to be provided the current MAP Program.
So much for “world class.”