Cullerton provides cooling-off period for Rauner to rethink student aid veto

jjc sb2043 noveto

CHICAGO - Senate President John Cullerton issued the following statement regarding the status of SB2043:

“Thousands of students across Illinois rely on the Monetary Award Program to be able to attend college and pursue degrees. This year, the state isn’t honoring its commitment to them. The governor already vetoed funding once and now is threatening to do it again even before we’ve sent the proposal to his desk.

I would urge the governor to rethink his position, reconsider his priorities and not act rashly but rather in the best interests of these students, their futures and the future of Illinois.

We’re going to give him time to do just that. The Senate will send Senate Bill 2043 to the governor on Tuesday, Feb. 16. That gives him two weeks to ponder whether another veto is the best approach.

I hope the governor uses the time to rethink his veto announcement. And I hope those who understand the importance of the state’s student aid program will use the time to help convince the governor to do the right thing.”

MAP background:

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 colleges and universities responding won’t continue to front the 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.