Martinez stresses urgency of funding college grants

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“We have to pressure the governor who is holding this funding as leverage to push his non-budget related agenda. We have to tell him to stop playing games with the education of these kids,” State Senator Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) said this week during an interview with Spanish language network Univision. Martinez spoke about the hardships thousands of low-income students face due to the lack of a state budget, particularly as the second semester without funds approaches in a few weeks.

univision MAP studentThe interview included Linet Lopez, a University of Illinois at Chicago student, who receives a MAP (Monetary Award Program) grant. For Linet, this financial assistance funded through the Higher Education budget the governor vetoed is vital to pursue her dream to become a doctor.

“We may need this money more than anybody else the governor may be saving it for,” Lopez said. “Why not invest it in us, the future of the state?”

The Senate has repeatedly passed legislation this year seeking to re-establish funding for MAP grants. Many state universities had resources to allow students to continue courses during the fall semester, but several are now saying they may not be able to extend that opportunity for the upcoming spring semester.

“I ask Governor Rauner to work with us in finding a compromise to approve funding for higher education,” Martinez said. “We should not put the future of our kids in jeopardy for political reasons.”

Watch the Univision story on their website.