Because of Illinois budgetary problems, the state legislature and governor could not agree on a budget that included MAP grant funding. However, on June 30, 2016, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a stopgap budget, part of which provides funding for MAP grants. For Elmhurst College, the temporary budget funds MAP for fiscal year 2016 only.
Therefore, there is concern among MAP-eligible students who rely on these grants to accomplish their educational pursuits.
“The MAP grant allows me to pay for school,” senior Megan O’Toole said. “If I don’t get a MAP grant next semester, I might not be able to finish my last semester.”
Desiree Chen, interim director of Communications & Public Affairs at EC, says that in past terms the College honored its MAP grant commitments despite the lack of funding by the State.
According to Chen, this April the state approved a stopgap budget that included 1.7 million of the MAP monies, however the funding only covered the Fall 2015 term.
“On June 30, the state legislature again passed a stopgap budget that appropriated the remaining $1.6 million MAP monies promised to these students for FY16,” Chen said. “The College received $1.7 million of these funds on May 2 and received the remaining $1.6 million on July 21.”
As of now, the Illinois legislature and governor have not signed off on a finalized budget that includes MAP grant funding for the current term. In light of the circumstances, Elmhurst College has decided that they will be providing a replacement grant that will be awarded to MAP-eligible students.
“This grant will cover the shortfall in their MAP award, should the state be unable to fully or partially fund the program for the Fall term,” Chen said.
According to Chen, EC continues to urge legislators on the signing of a finalized budget on behalf of the MAP eligible students.
“Until the State of Illinois commits to fund MAP in FY17, the College will remain concerned for the MAP-eligible students who have been promised these grant monies by the State,” she said. “Our plan is to continue not only to monitor the state’s budget situation over the coming months, but also to advocate for our students with legislators.”