Monday, February 13, 2012

Funding woes shadow MAP grant proposal

Gov. Pat Quinn’s push to increase funding for a key state college scholarship program has the support of university officials, but they remain worried about the state’s overall support for higher education and the money the state owes those institutions.

Quinn pushed the idea of increasing funding for the Monetary Award Program, which gives grants to Illinois residents attending in-state colleges and universities, on Wednesday, when he met with college presidents at the Executive Mansion.

Quinn’s idea comes at a time when state funding for higher education has dropped and, like thousands of vendors, Illinois owes money to colleges.

Tom Hardy, spokesman for the University of Illinois, said the state owes its flagship university system $301 million. Derek Schnapp, a spokesman for the University of Illinois Springfield, estimated that the state owes UIS a little over $10 million.

Details about how Quinn proposes to increase MAP grant funding — and how the increase would be paid for — won’t be known until the governor delivers his Feb. 22 budget address.

“At UIS, where over 80 percent of our students are from Illinois, nearly one out of five students has a MAP grant. Many students would not be able to attend college without it,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said in a statement. “An increase in funding for MAP grants would be a tremendous investment for Illinois because there is no better public good than increasing the number of college graduates for our state."

MAP grants were featured in an February 13, 2012, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online