Skip to Content JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

Why MAP Matters

MAP grants help make college possible for thousands of Illinoisans annually. That matters a lot, because currently, two out of three jobs demand at least some education or training beyond high school1 and by 2020, experts predict that 70% of all jobs will require postsecondary education.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

Demand for MAP Exceeds Current Funding

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 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 about 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. 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 2017-18 school year, MAP served only about 43% of the applicants who were eligible. The maximum MAP award for public university students covered only about one third of average tuition and fees at a public university in this state.

The two-year budget impasse that delayed MAP funding in FY 2016 and FY 2017 created serious challenges for students and schools. It also shook the confidence of students who endured months of waiting for confirmation of funding from a program that had been available and reliable for almost 50 years. For students who simply cannot afford to attend school without MAP, we need to rebuild confidence that the program will provide the timely help they need.

While we can reassure Illinois students that MAP funding has been restored, it is important to note that even with the increase in funding for FY 2019, there is still significantly more demand than funding.

The number one reason for dropping out of college is financial. With the additional funding received in FY 2018, and level funding for FY 2019, ISAC was able to increase the maximum MAP award, but only by $149. 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 in order 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 $1.5 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] Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020, State Report, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, June 2013,
[3] A Stronger Nation: Learning Beyond High School Builds American Talent, Illinois Report, Lumina Foundation, 2018,
[4] Goals for the Common Good: Exploring the Impact of Education, Measure of America and United Way, 2009.