Monday, August 17, 2015

Local colleges crediting students for MAP grants held up by state budget impasse

Students who depend on Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants to help with college tuition and fees are in limbo because of the state budget impasse, but most apparently will be able to attend classes this fall.

Without a final budget, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which administers the state-funded MAP grants, doesn’t know what will be appropriated for the program for the 2015-16 school year and can’t pay schools on behalf of students.

However, many schools, including the University of Illinois Springfield, Lincoln Land Community College and others, are crediting student accounts for MAP on the assumption there eventually will be a budget and they will be paid.

“We’re going to go ahead and apply the money to student accounts just like they had a budget,” said Carolyn Schloemann, acting director of financial assistance at UIS. “Our students won’t be penalized because there’s not a state budget.”

At UIS, 815 students received MAP grant funding totaling just more than $2.6 million last year, an average grant of $3,232 per student.

Jamie Anderson, 21, is a senior majoring in social work at UIS. She holds down two jobs — one at the campus records and registration office and another at Meijer — and counts on a MAP grant to fill the gap in her tuition and fees.

“It’s a huge worry of mine,” that the money won’t be there, she said. “I really depend on that grant as an independent student. Loans are hard to get because there’s no one to co-sign for me.”

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on August 14, 2015.

Read the full article online.