SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As lawmakers consider possible cuts toward higher education, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, is emphasizing the value of the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and warning about the negative impact on students if funding were to be slashed.

“Having access to financial aid through a MAP grant can be the difference between someone receiving a degree and unlocking their potential or losing access to opportunity that can hurt them the rest of their life,” Ford said. “It’s time for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make the tough decisions necessary to ensure that we have adequate revenue available to fund critical programs such as MAP. It is my belief that we should be looking to increase MAP funding by at least 25% compared to last year’s funding levels, not cut it. Our state’s financial situation, if not effectively addressed, will hurt MAP funding and lock students into higher debt, if they can even afford to attend college to begin with.”

According to the non-profit, non-partisan ReadyNation, nearly 100,000 eligible students went without MAP assistance for which they qualified in Fiscal Year 2018 after available funding was exhausted. Compared to the days when MAP grants could cover full tuition and fee costs, ReadyNation also notes that MAP presently covers only about two-thirds of the tuition and fees at Illinois community colleges, and only one-third of those similar costs at public universities.

Additionally, Ford notes that proposed laws, such as House Bill 2691 which would allow undocumented residents to access MAP, would put additional pressure on the program’s ability to effectively serve students.

“In the wake of the budget impasse, we have to be proactive in our efforts to develop and keep talent here in Illinois,” Ford said. “Investing in MAP can provide incredibly valuable short and long term benefits, and it needs to be a priority in this year’s state budget.”

Rep. La Shawn FordRep. La Shawn Ford

8th District

Springfield Office:
239-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL   62706
(217) 782-5962
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Chicago Office:
5051 W Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 378-5902