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McGuire joins rally to restore MAP grant funding (VIDEO, AUDIO)

mcguire maprallyAcross the country, tuition costs and students loans are soaring, but in Illinois, the problem has been further compounded by another issue. Students who receive financial aid from the state’s Monetary Award Program remain in limbo because the governor vetoed their funding.

Public colleges and universities have been fronting the costs to cover the MAP grants through the fall semester, but have indicated that generous gesture simply cannot continue. Last year, MAP grants assisted over 136,000 students in affording college.

Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet) is the chairman of the Higher Education Committee, and has been a vocal advocate for these students.

“The lack of funding for the MAP grant program is a far cry from the governor’s call to make Illinois more compassionate and a more business-friendly climate,” McGuire told a crowd of more than 200 students who rallied Tuesday at the Capitol.

“If these young men and women are our future, then by not making these funds available, we not only are looking at a desolate future, but we are failing these bright young people.”

The Federation of Independent Colleges and Universities gathered at the capitol to host an open forum, imploring legislators to approve funding.

“The MAP program is one of the key drivers for students, regardless of where they choose to attend, to be able to attend college,” said David W. Tretter, who is the president of the Federation. “If you look at the financial picture, all the pieces need to come together. Not funding the MAP grant program would be like pulling out one of the legs of a stool and expecting it to stand. ”

The Senate passed funding legislation in October, marking the second time the Senate has attempted to solve this lingering issue. The governor vetoed the initial proposal. The second awaits action in the Illinois House.

As a result of the ongoing lack of funding, the Higher Education Committee hosted four hearings across the state in order to hear from students. The message was the same: MAP funding means the difference between staying in school or not.

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