Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A "MAP" of how higher ed and students are lost in Illinois' political battle

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

Gridlock has kept money from going to higher education since July. Then, in a matter of hours on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers approved a plan that would pump $720 million dollars into the system. Republicans are calling it a "cruel hoax" that's giving students false hope, even though they, too, say they want to help higher ed. It's a scenario that demonstrates the partisan tensions, and politics, at play.

Legislators on the House higher education committee recently had the chance to meet someone.

"Good afternoon, thank you for having me. My name's Jamie Anderson, I'm a senior at the University of Illinois Springfield. I'm from Stillman Valley, Illinois which is a small town ten minutes outside of Rockford, Illinois."

Anderson says everyone in her life had told her, she'd never make it that far.

"I was a ward of the state. I was a foster child for 11 years. And I just didn't have a family to afford for me to come to college," she testified Wednesday.

She says the Monetary Award Program made it possible.

"I would not be here today if it wasn't for the MAP grant. I would not be the student leader I have become today if it was not for the MAP grant," Anderson, 22, told representatives. 

This story was featured on NPR on January 29, 2016.

Listen to the story online