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Senator Haine urges lawmakers to approve MAP grant funding

map grant mrSPRINGFIELD – Next week the Illinois State Senate plans to take up funding for financial aid for qualified college students. The Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) provides needy Illinois students with funding to pay for college tuition.  This funding is currently being held up as a result of the budget impasse.

“In the coming weeks students will be returning to college campuses,” said State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton). “Many of these students rely on MAP grants for their college tuition. It is important we invest in the future of our state and make sure students have the opportunity to better themselves. That is why I am urging lawmakers to vote in favor of this measure."

In May, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation specifically aimed to help college students. Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the plan thereby taking away college funding for students who rely on state assistance.

Illinois Senate Democrats have issued an online petition urging students and stakeholders to support MAP grant funding on their website: www.IllinoisSenateDemocrats.com.

The Senate expects to take up the legislation on Wednesday, August 19.

Bennett pushes for MAP grant appropriations

map grant mrCHAMPAIGN- As college students begin to head back to campus, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is circulating a petition to urge Illinois lawmakers to pass funding for an important state aid program.

“I urge legislators to put politics aside. These students are real people with real lives. We cannot afford to jeopardize their futures,” said Bennett.

Monetary Award Program (MAP grants) cannot be given to students until there is a state budget. More than 100,000 students across Illinois rely on MAP grants to afford higher education.

Some schools are unable to absorb the tuition cost while the budget impasse continues and are asking students to pay partial fees upfront as they wait for the budget impasse to end. Bennett doesn’t want students discouraged from returning to campus due the lack of promised financial aid.

“If these students could afford to absorb tuition costs and fees, they wouldn’t have qualified for state assistance in the first place,” said Bennett. “College affordability is a defining component in our state’s policies. We need to be working toward giving our young people the tools to graduate with success, not forcing them to miss out on valuable opportunities.”

Lawmakers will return to Springfield to take up legislative action on Wed., Aug. 19. Bennett will work with lawmakers to authorize funding for MAP grants.

Silverstein resolution would condemn Iran deal

silverstein sjr iranCHICAGO  – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced a resolution in the Senate this week to oppose the White House’s agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

“While I acknowledge the complicated workings to negotiate a deal between the U.S. and Iran, I have grave concerns that this does not even approach strict enough oversight of Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism and their long-standing efforts to gain and build nuclear weapons.”

Silverstein echoes concerns of some in Congress who believe the deal’s inspection timelines, retention of much of Iran’s existing nuclear infrastructure and unclear sanctions to be imposed if Iran does not comply indicate the world will be no better off in 10 years with the deal.

“This resolution encourages the Illinois General Assembly to call on U.S. Senators and Representatives to oppose this inadequate deal and work for a new deal to prevent all routes to a nuclear bomb for Iran,” Silverstein said. “This is an urgent but very serious arrangement that needs to be stronger for the security of all nations.”

Senate Joint Resolution 31 has been filed; its first action will be taken in the Senate Assignments Committee.

MAP funding a necessity for student success

mapgrant moneySPRINGFIELD — Thousands of college students and their families are caught in a political power play that State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) hopes to at least partially resolve next week at the Capitol.

At issue is the state’s primary student aid program – the Monetary Award Program (MAP). More than 100,000 students rely on MAP grants to help pay for school, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the MAP grant budget. This left hanging both the students who rely on them and the schools they attend even as a new academic year begins.

Biss is among the Senate Democrats pushing to approve a MAP grant budget when the Illinois Senate convenes Wednesday. The Monetary Award Program is the state’s largest need-based grant program to help pay for college. As long as these grants aren’t funded, the economic futures of hundreds of thousands of middle-class and disadvantaged students are at risk.

“If we are unwilling to come together and sincerely seek to resolve our budget impasse in a fair and sustainable way, what kind of example are we setting for Illinois students?” Biss said. “Surely, we can all get behind a solution that simply seeks to help students realize their potential and support our state’s economic future.”

The funding proposal would mirror what Rauner recommended in his budget plan. He recommended spending $373.3 million on student financial aid through MAP. The MAP budget he vetoed contained an additional $24 million.

“Our state’s greatest asset is the talent and potential of so many students from all backgrounds. To squander this potential by not giving a hand up to students in need would be disgraceful,” Biss said.

The legislation is SB 2043.

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