State universities can’t promise full year’s MAP funding

Students at most of Illinois’ public universities are being told their school is only covering one semester of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.

The University of Illinois and Southern, Western and Northern Illinois universities said, right now, they’re only promising to cover the fall semester.

“In the U of I system, we have approximately 15,000 students at our three universities receiving MAP grants from the state totaling $60 million a year,” university spokesman Tom Hardy said. “I expect our practice will remain the same and we’ll cover students for the first semester of 2016-17 in expectation of a comprehensive budget solution after the election cycle.”

It’s the same thought at most of the other schools.

NIU spokesman Joe King said most campuses are struggling with the “float” – the growing time gap between when schools admit students and when the state reimburses universities.

“You were always kind of (playing the float.) You would take these students in before you got the money from the state for the MAP grants,” King said. “But instead of it being a matter of weeks or a month, we’re now waiting about half an academic year before we’re getting that.”

King said about 5,400 NIU students, or about 25 percent of the student body, rely on MAP grants.

Illinois State University, however, is promising a full year’s credit for its MAP grant students.

Illinois State University Chief of Staff Jay Groves said ISU was able to manage costs last year. He expects to do the same this year.

“Unless something extraordinary happens, (students) will be held harmless for both the fall and the spring,” Groves said.

Illinois’ new stopgap budget includes $151 million for MAP grants. But the money is earmarked for last year’s awards to students. University officials hope more money will be appropriated later this year.

–Illinois News Network

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