Why MAP Matters
MAP grants help make college possible for thousands of Illinoisans annually. That matters a lot, because by 2018, 64% of all jobs in Illinois will require postsecondary education. More education not only leads to better and more diverse career prospects, financial stability and independence, but it has also been linked to longer life expectancy, better physical and mental health, lower incarceration rates, greater tolerance, higher voter turnout, and better prospects for the next generation. So by helping to give individuals the opportunities a college education can bring, MAP is an investment in our communities and in the future of our State.
Yet currently only about 42% of working-age adults (25-64) in Illinois hold a two or four year college degree. MAP matters to low-income, first generation, and students of color, for whom there continues to be a significant achievement gap. Students from families in the top income quartile are three times more likely to attend college and far more likely to achieve a bachelor’s degree than students from families in the lowest income quartile—even those low-income students with the highest grades. Over half of MAP recipients are first generation students, and more than half of the undergraduates at Illinois's public universities who identify themselves as Black or Hispanic receive a MAP grant.
College costs have risen faster in recent years than in any other sector of the economy—even faster than healthcare—while MAP funding is shrinking. A little more than a decade ago, in 2002, MAP was able to meet the needs of all eligible applicants and fully covered average public university or community college tuition and fees. Today, with MAP funding currently below 2009 dollar levels and an effective maximum award of $4,720, MAP serves only about 37% of the applicants who are eligible and covers only about 35% of average tuition and fees at a public university in this State.
In FY 2015, MAP awards totaling approximately $357 million helped over 128,000 students to continue their education, but over 160,000 eligible applicants were not offered MAP due to insufficient funding. Without an FY 2016 budget and final MAP appropriation, over 125,000 students across the state could find that they are unable to attend college without MAP funding— reducing their likelihood of completing, negatively impacting their careers, and resulting in long-term economic harm to individual families and the state.
 Goals for the Common Good: Exploring the Impact of Education, Measure of America and United Way, 2009.
 A Stronger Illinois through Higher Education: A policy brief from Lumina Foundation, June 2013, p. 2.