Tuesday, February 16, 2016 12:41 PM
SPRINGFIELD- To give Illinois students a second chance, Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) delivered Senate Bill 2043 to the governor’s office today.
The 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.
“Critical funding will keep college students on the path toward completing their degrees,” said Trotter, chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee and co-sponsor of the legislation. “I hope the governor stands with us to make college affordable and keep the doors open for our higher institutions of learning.”
Listen to Sen. Trotter's remarks:
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission estimates that under Senate Bill 2043, 125,000 to 130,000 eligible students will be approved for MAP grant assistance.
“Thousands of Illinois students rely on the MAP grant program for access to education and to prepare for a better life,” Burke said. “Higher education is an essential state service that is just as important as elementary and secondary school, and should not be held up by this budget impasse.”
Without crucial funding, state community colleges and state universities are unsure if they will be able to continue to front the money for the MAP grant program. State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) hopes the governor and General Assembly can work together to restore this vital funding.
“MAP grants are absolutely vital to thousands of students across Illinois. Eliminating these funds is short-sighted and will have a long-term impact both on students and our state economy,” Murphy said. “Today, I stand with these students and ask the governor to sign this legislation and invest in the future of Illinois.”
Trisha Rodriquez, a first-generation college student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, relies on MAP assistance to pay for her education. Without MAP grant funding, Rodriquez would have to reconsider her financial options to continue her education.
“This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s about helping students like Trisha achieve their goals,” said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “We need to get this money to students before they are forced to make further tough decisions about their future.”