Students at Olivet and across the state may be at risk of losing their Monetary Award Program grant (MAP grant), which provides tuition assistance to Illinois residents who demonstrated financial need, according to a press release from the Office of Illinois State Treasurer.
The budget was vetoed in June by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, placing 130,000 families in financial uncertainty. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs is advocating for the grant to be reinstated after the state Senate came back and passed a bill funding 373 million dollars, down from 397 million.
The bill now waits for House action. When they have enough votes to pass it, the House will call for a vote, Frerichs said.
At Olivet, 908 students receive an average of $3,964 from the grant, a total of 3.6 million dollars, Vice President for Student Development Woody Webb said.
Senior Madalyn Lathrop has received the MAP grant all four years at Olivet. After hearing about the possible loss of funding, she took a closer look and totaled up the money she received through the MAP grant. “I didn’t realize how big of a grant it was…thinking about how much more I would have to pay without it. For some students, it could mean they couldn’t come here or would need to find a job.
Frerichs is holding press conferences and hearings around the state to highlight through media attention the negative impact of not passing this funding.
“We need to be supporting education. They want students to be educated and have careers, but they can’t do that if the MAP grant is taken away,” Frerichs said. “As someone who was a first generation college graduate and helps families save for college, I believe the governor should say higher education is a priority.”
In a press release, Frerichs said, “A college education opens doors for life-long employment and feeds the pipeline of reliable workers that Illinois employers require. The state has kept its word when it promised tax incentives to a new business, so it only is fair that the state keeps its word to students who were promised financial aid.”
—Grace King, executive editor