Skip to Content JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Why MAP Matters

MAP grants help make college possible for well over 100,000 Illinoisans annually. That matters a lot, because currently, two out of three jobs demand at least some education or training beyond high school.1

Indeed, by 2026, the number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree is expected to be 10 percent higher than it was in 2016, with 17 percent more jobs requiring a master’s degree and 13 percent more requiring a doctoral or professional degree than a decade earlier. Conversely, the growth rate for occupations not requiring postsecondary education will be slower than overall occupational growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the 30 fastest-growing occupations, 18 of those require more than a high school diploma.2 Yet only about 51% of working-age adults (25-64) in Illinois hold a two or four year college degree or high quality postsecondary certificate.3


Note: 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 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 was listed as first-choice on their financial aid application--where they are not eligible for a MAP grant.

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.4 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.

MAP matters to low income, first generation, and students of color, for whom there continues to be a significant attainment gap. College enrollment for students in the top income quartile is 78% nationally, compared to 48% for those in the lowest income quartile. The gap in bachelor degree attainment is even wider: For those students in the lowest income quartile it is 13%, compared to 62% for students in the highest income quartile.5 Over half of MAP recipients are first generation students, and we estimate that about half of the undergraduates at Illinois's public universities who identify themselves as Black or Hispanic receive a MAP grant.

The average tuition at Illinois public four-year colleges, adjusted for inflation, increased 28% between 2008 and 2016.6 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. In the 2019-20 school year, the highest MAP award covered only 34% of average tuition and mandatory fees at public universities and 36% at community colleges.7

The number one reason for dropping out of college is financial. With the additional funding received in for FY 20, ISAC was able to increase the maximum MAP award by $471—a help but still not enough to address the rising costs of college. Without sufficient funding, many students take fewer class hours, extending their time to complete a degree and increasing the chance that they won’t complete at all. And with more demand than funding, there will continue to be MAP-eligible students who will not receive awards. Without MAP, many students simply can’t go to school—reducing both the student’s and the state’s ability to leverage federal Pell dollars. A student with financial need might need the combination of federal Pell grant dollars and MAP to afford college. When MAP-eligible students are denied for lack of funds and ultimately cannot afford to attend school, they also leave federal Pell dollars on the table. For students who do manage to attend college without MAP, it may require that they take on additional loans--adding to the more than $1.6 trillion of student loan debt nationally.

MAP Matters – to today’s students, to the state, and to future generations. Let’s continue to work to make more MAP dollars available to students next fiscal year and beyond.

[1] Three Educational Pathways to Good Jobs: High School, Middle Skills, and Bachelor’s Degree, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, October 16, 2018, cew-reports/3pathways/

[2] A Greater Number of Jobs Require More Education, Leaving Middle-Skill Workers with Fewer Opportunities, University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service Stat Chat, May 10, 2019,

[3] A Stronger Nation: Learning Beyond High School Builds American Talent, Illinois Report, Lumina Foundation, 2019,

[4] Goals for the Common Good: Exploring the Impact of Education, Measure of America and United Way, 2009.

[5] See (Equity Indicator 1A and 5A).

[6] Based on figures from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as reported in

[7] Note that most MAP recipients also receive federal Pell grants, and Pell plus a MAP grant typically covers the current cost of tuition and mandatory fees at community colleges in Illinois.