MAP Matters to Illinois Students!
For over 50 years, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) has helped make college possible for millions of Illinoisans across the state. MAP matters because it provides need-based aid that a student doesn’t have to repay, defraying tuition and fee costs and limiting excessive loan debt for students without the resources to pay for college.
In FY 2014 the Illinois Student Assistance Commission awarded approximately $372 million in MAP grants, helping over 136,000 students to continue their education. Although MAP is one of the best investments we can make in our citizens, in our economy and in the future of the state, in FY 2014 alone, approximately 165,000 eligible applicants were not offered MAP due to insufficient funding.
The original FY 2015 budget held funding for MAP essentially level with 2014, although the final FY 2015 appropriation was reduced by $8.4 million mid-year as a result of the state’s 2.25% across-the-board budget cut. As a result, in FY 2015, a reduced appropriation served approximately 128,000 students, but 160,000 eligible applicants were not offered MAP due to insufficient funding.
Impact of the FY 2016 Budget Delay:
Illinois is currently without a budget or a final MAP appropriation for state FY 2016, which began July 1, 2015. Without a state budget and final appropriation, the state cannot pay schools for MAP, and over 125,000 students who rely on MAP to attend school may have to find alternative funding, drop classes, or even be forced to make the difficult decision not to attend school.
Many colleges and universities have been crediting student accounts for first-term MAP awards, although some schools may be holding other financial aid, such as Pell dollars, pending payment from the state for MAP. This could also put a significant burden on students, who rely on Pell for living expenses and books, among other educational expenses. Moreover, it is clear that many of the schools who are crediting MAP for first-term (in the expectation that a budget will be passed and that MAP will be funded) will not be able to do so for second-term, should the budget delay continue.
ISAC has developed a brief FAQ for students and parents regarding the impact of the budget stalemate on ISAC’s programs, including MAP.
Assuming flat MAP funding for FY16, the grant would serve over 125,000 students—many of whom rely on it to attend college. On October 15, 2015, ISAC ‘s Commission Board passed a Resolution Encouraging Adoption of Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, calling for a state spending plan that would fund MAP, other financial aid programs, and public higher education.