A second chance for students … Senate to deliver MAP plan to Gov. Rauner

map grant mrSPRINGFIELD --Today, the Illinois Senate will deliver Senate Bill 2043 to the governor’s office. A news conference regarding the delivery of the legislation is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Capitol media briefing room.

That legislation provides the governor with the spending authority needed to honor his administration’s commitment to students regarding the Monetary Award Program (MAP) financial aid grants.

Even as the Senate was giving final approval to SB 2043 on Jan. 28,  Gov. Bruce Rauner threatened to veto the legislation just as he had in June. In response, Senate President John Cullerton announced the Senate would hold the legislation for a couple weeks in the hope the governor would reconsider.

NOTE: Under the Illinois Constitution, once legislation has passed both chambers, it is to be delivered to the governor’s office within 30 days. The governor then has 60 days in which to act. If he fails to act, the proposal becomes law. (Note: There is no ‘pocket veto’ in Illinois.)

The Process:

Senate Bill 2043 authorizes the governor to spend money on the financial aid program known as MAP. It does not require the governor to spend it. Under state law, the General Assembly is responsible for giving the governor the ability to spend money on programs. If the governor doesn’t have that authority, he cannot spend any money on the program. However, once given the authority by lawmakers, the governor’s hands are not tied. The General Assembly cannot force the governor to spend money.

When it comes to the Monetary Award Program, the state of Illinois currently cannot spend any money on the student aid grants Gov. Rauner’s administration awarded because Gov. Rauner vetoed the spending authority in June. New legislation trying again to give him that authority is scheduled to be delivered to his office on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Out of more than $30 billion in spending authority approved by the General Assembly, the governor signed roughly $7 billion for kindergarten through high school education and rejected by veto all other spending authority. Those vetoes created the current budget impasse.

What is MAP?

The Monetary Award Program is the state’s leading financial aid program for college students. It provides grants, which do not need to be repaid, to Illinois residents based on their financial need so they can attend approved Illinois colleges and universities.

MAP timeline:

HB 4146 was a standalone proposal providing the governor with spending authority to award MAP grants during the budget year that began July 1. It provided $397 million for MAP, an 8.8 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2015 levels. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) estimated the increase would serve an additional 15,000 students with MAP grants.

May 28, 2015: Illinois Senate gives final approval to HB 4146.
June 17, 2015: Senate officially sends HB 4146 to the governor’s desk.
June 25, 2015: Gov. Rauner vetoes HB 4146.

July 1, 2015: The state starts the budget year with no funding for MAP even though the governor’s administration continued accepting applications.
August 2015: No funding is in place for the state’s leading financial aid program as students prepare to return to campus. Many schools agree to front students the money during the impasse so they can continue their studies.

Aug. 19, 2015: Illinois Senate approves a new MAP budget -- SB 2043 -- and sends the proposal to the Illinois House. The funding level was consistent with the amount the governor requested in his budget proposal at $373 million.  

Jan. 7, 2016: Illinois Student Assistance Commission releases a survey showing nearly half of the schools responding won’t continue to front money to students.

Jan. 28, 2016: Illinois House approves MAP budget. Returns proposal to Senate.
Jan. 28, 2016: Illinois Senate accepts changes and gives MAP budget
final approval.
Jan. 28, 2016: Gov. Rauner’s spokeswoman says governor will veto it.

Feb. 1, 2016: Senate President Cullerton announces legislation won’t be sent to governor’s desk until Feb. 16 in hopes governor will change his mind.

Feb. 16, 2016: SB2043 scheduled to be delivered to governor’s desk, beginning the 60-day deadline for the governor to either sign or veto the student aid legislation.

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