MAP Grant Uncertainty Leads Some Students To Change Plans

UIS Graduates during commencement ceremony.

Graduates walking during a commencement ceremony at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

University of Illinois at Springfield

MAP grants — the Monetary Award Program that helps low-income students pay college tuition — will receive some funding through the stopgap measure approved last week by Illinois lawmakers. But a new survey conducted by the agency that administers the MAP program shows the detrimental effects the state budget impasse has already had on those students’ enrollment decisions. 

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission  sent a survey to nearly a hundred thousand students who received MAP grants last fall. More than 10 thousand responded, and most took time to answer the open-ended questions about how they were coping with the state’s failure to fund the promised financial aid. One in seven said they might not return to school this fall, or would have “extreme difficulty” doing so. If that same percentage holds true for all MAP students, it would mean 18,000 current students might not re-enroll next fall. 

Some said​ they had no choice but to drop out. “I don’t have the funds to attend school anymore,” one student wrote. "I’m 5 classes from completing my degree.” 

The survey was taken before the state legislature agreed late last week to reimburse colleges for the spring’s MAP grants. But there’s still no MAP appropriation for the upcoming school year. 

Story source: Illinois Public Radio