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Effort to End MAP Funding Limbo for IL College Students

MAP grant funding for IL college students is currently on hold because of the state budget impasse. Credit: Sheron2482/Morguefile
MAP grant funding for IL college students is currently on hold because of the state budget impasse.
Credit: Sheron2482/Morguefile
August 19, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - There's a chance funding could be freed that would end the MAP funding limbo for many college-bound Illinois students.

About 125,000 students rely on the money from the Monetary Assistance Program grant for tuition, but without a state budget the funding cannot be dispersed.

Lynn Baker, managing director of communications for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said some schools are crediting students' accounts for MAP, but it's been a waiting game for others.

"They're literally, truly on the doorstep of college, getting their schedules. They're ready to move forward," she said, "and those doors are actually going to be shut for some of them whose schools are not able to credit MAP while they await payment from the state."

When the Illinois Senate convenes today, Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, said he'll seek approval for a plan to authorize about $373 million for the program - the amount Gov. Bruce Rauner recommended in his budget plan.

Without the money, Baker said, some students could be forced to drop a class or put school on hold. She encouraged those who were expecting the grant money to contact their school's financial aid office.

"We've been happy to see that there are many schools that are going to credit student accounts for MAP but there are some that will not be able to," she said. "But those student financial aid offices may also have some other alternatives to assist students during this period."

MAP is Illinois' largest need-based grant program to help pay for college. Baker said about 57 percent of recipients are first-generation college students; 35 percent are independent and may have families to support.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL