SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – New legislation introduced by state Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, aims to expand access to Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funding for eligible students enrolled in a certificate program at a community college.
“Community colleges serving residents of my district alerted me to the fact that students enrolled in certificate programs, such as Dental Office Aid, or CNC Operator, are ineligible to access financial aid through the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) because the qualifications for MAP grants require that the student pursue at least an Associate’s Degree or higher,” Pappas said. “We should be doing everything we can to encourage workers in a changing economy to pursue secondary education and certifications that help them pave a path towards career advancement and pay raises. MAP grants should be available to help all students in need achieve those goals.”
Pappas introduced House Bill 4243, which would expand access to Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funding for eligible students enrolled in a certificate program attending community colleges. Currently, students enrolled in a certificate program at a community college cannot access any funds through the MAP grant program. If passed, this law would help ensure equal access to MAP grant resources for community college students enrolled in community college certificate programs in areas of study such as early childhood education, paralegal studies and welding.
“Every community college student pursuing a degree or certification to enhance their work prospects need should be treated equally. All such students who demonstrate financial need should have access to aid programs like MAP to ensure that they can afford the cost of their education,” Pappas said. “No one should be denied access to financial resources just because their course of study results in a certificate instead of an Associate’s Degree. In order to build a stronger Illinois with a thriving economy, we can’t leave any student behind.”