Illinois’ schools funding MAP grants during budget impasse

As Illinois’ budget impasse lingers, some universities and colleges have decided to fund their Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants upfront to help low-income college students pay for their education.

Eric Jome, director of media relations at Illinois State University, said his university’s short-term solution is to pay for the program. Jome said the university has covered approximately $30 million in MAP funding the past two academic years, a price the university is willing to pay to help students continue their education.

“They apply for these awards and have an expectation that the award will be paid, and so it’s through no fault of their own if the state is not able to supply that money,” Jome said. “We are covering that cost with the expectation that eventually, budget situations will be clarified in the State of Illinois, and that eventually, we will see that money return.”

Jome asserted that providing ongoing education without disruption is a priority for the university.

“Being able to use funds from our own coffers to make sure students are able to continue with their education is very important,” he said.

Some institutions can only afford to cover MAP funding on a case-by-case basis. Jome said the university doesn’t have a long-term MAP funding plan in place yet, and he believes state funding will come through.

Jome said guaranteeing MAP funding for students also will help taxpayers and the community overall by allowing more people to further their education.

“This is certainly a very important program that allows a lot of students in the state to get a college education,” Jome said.

“Students are working, they take out loans, they have jobs. This is certainly a very important program that allows those gaps to be filled, and it allows a lot of people to go to school that might not be able to go to school without it.”

–Illinois News Network

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