After hundreds of students made a trip to Springfield on Oct. 16 to
lobby for the appropriate funding for this grant, Gov. Pat Quinn
signed a piece of legislation that guarantees the funding of the MAP
grant. So for now the problem is fixed through next semester, but
the future beyond that is still uncertain.
MAP grants are
based on financial need and don't need to be repaid. These grants
are provided by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to
Illinois students who attend approved Illinois colleges, are
enrolled in at least three credit hours and are eligible according
to their FASFA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. These
grants apply to in-district tuition and mandatory fees only and
don't include class or lab fees.
This grant is very important to college students statewide; more
than 137,000 received MAP grants. Nearly 75 percent of those who
drop out of college for financial reasons never return to college.
So how would losing the MAP grants affect Lincoln College? On the
Lincoln campus, 385 students were awarded MAP grants, with an
average of $4,842 per student; and on the Normal campus, 252
students received MAP grants, with an average award of $3,642 per
Since the state shut off funding for MAP before the Lincoln
College recruiting cycle was complete, 119 Lincoln College students
who were eligible for MAP were unable to receive funding. Had these
119 students received MAP grants, the percentage of Lincoln College
students receiving MAP funds would have risen from 50 percent to 60
If MAP funding is lost, the estimated cost for Lincoln College is
$1.6 million, or 12 percent of the educational and general operating
budget. This also means that about 25 percent of Lincoln College
students will drop out of this school and "sector shift," which
means they will go to a public institute rather than a private one,
or they will drop out altogether.
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The need for the MAP grants is beyond question, not only for the
students, but for the colleges and universities as well.
"The loss of the MAP grant would be devastating to Lincoln
College and its students," said LC President John Hutchinson.
Most professional jobs require a bachelor's degree. If our young
people aren't acquiring these college degrees and go into the work
force with no more than a high school diploma, the Illinois economy
will suffer greatly. MAP recipients include not only
"traditional-age" college students, but young adults and older
workers who have lost their jobs and are trying to learn new skills.
Educating the youth is an investment in the future, but not
everyone can afford to go to college without some kind of financial
aid. That is why the Illinois MAP grants are so important to so many
Illinois students, whether they are traditional or nontraditional
students. Hopefully, MAP grants will continue beyond next semester,
not only at Lincoln College, but at higher learning institutions
across the country.
[By JOLI BOERMA and JESSICA SPIWAK,