CHICAGO – After three years of higher education funding uncertainty due to the budget impasse, state Rep. John D’Amico, D-Chicago, is helping to provide security for students and families by backing a four-year agreement to fund Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants.
“MAP grants largely target the neediest students,” D’Amico said. “Illinois needs to do more to compete for local students rather than lose them forever to neighboring states. That’s why it was important to not just hold the line, but to also boost investment in local Illinois colleges, such as Northeastern Illinois University and North Park University.
The Monetary Award Program (MAP) provides grants, which do not need to be repaid, to Illinois residents who attend Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need. MAP grants were not paid to students for the majority of the three-year budget impasse due to Gov. Rauner’s veto of higher education spending. During 2017, MAP provided an average of $2,850 in aid to over 121,000 Illinois students that attended an Illinois college. Last year’s average annual family income of a traditional MAP recipient was $33,632. Often times, taking out additional student loans may not be an option for many MAP recipients, as they have already maxed out their possible federal student loans.
“The state’s higher education system should be something everyone takes pride in, but politicians like Gov. Rauner held the system hostage for his extreme demands,” D’Amico said. “The future of our state is dependent on us having a strong higher education system that attracts and keeps students here in Illinois. A stable commitment to MAP grants helps in this effort.”