Skip to Content JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

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Faces of MAP

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FOR OVER 50 YEARS, THE MONETARY AWARD PROGRAM (MAP) HAS HELPED MAKE COLLEGE POSSIBLE FOR MILLIONS OF ILLINOISANS ACROSS THE STATE

Indeed, MAP recipients come from every legislative district in 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 student loan debt for those who don’t have the resources to pay for college.

After several years of essentially flat funding for MAP, punctuated by a two-year budget impasse in 2016 and 2017 when MAP funding was delayed, strong support for MAP increases from Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly brought Fiscal Year 2020 MAP funding to a historic high of approximately $451 million. This funding helped to serve additional students as well as to increase the size of MAP awards in order to begin to address years of declining purchasing power of the grants.

There continues, however, to be more demand for MAP than available funding, creating obstacles for students in accessing—and completing—postsecondary education. For example, in FY 20, a MAP appropriation of approximately $451 million served almost 139,000 students. Of the almost 53,000 eligible students who were not offered an award because they submitted their FAFSAs after the suspense date (when ISAC stops making awards because it believes it has exhausted expected funding), it is estimated that nearly 31,000 of those students would likely have used a MAP award to attend school were it not for insufficient funding.1

While Governor Pritzker’s proposed FY 21 budget had originally included an additional $50 million in MAP, the COVID-19 pandemic put tremendous constraints on the state budget and MAP was flat funded in FY 21 at $451 million. Even with the continued strains on the budget as a result of the pandemic, Governor Pritzker has recommended in his proposed FY 22 budget a $28 million dollar increase in MAP funding. If approved by the General Assembly, that funding increase would help low-income students as they try to keep up with rising costs, and should serve additional students with grants. Particularly in light of the increased financial challenges for families as a result of the pandemic, MAP funding is more important than ever to make college possible for more Illinois students.

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[1] ISAC calculates the number of students who would likely have accepted the award, had they been offered it, based on the previous year’s data on awards offered and awards accepted (claimed) by students in each college sector. There are a number of reasons why a student might not claim an award they were offered, including not attending college at all, attending an out-of-state college, or attending a different college than they listed as first-choice--where they are not eligible for a MAP grant.