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MAP grants, community colleges funding head to governor (AUDIO)

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Without a state budget for need-based state financial aid in place, Illinois’ public universities and community colleges paid roughly $182 million to allow students to continue their education last semester.

To alleviate the burden on Illinois college students and families, State Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) and the Illinois Senate passed MAP grant funding.

“Critical funding will keep college students on the path toward completing their degrees,” said Trotter, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee. “I hope the governor stands with us to make college affordable and keep the doors open for our higher institutions of learning.”

Senate Bill 2043 provides statewide funding for the following:

•    $397.1 million for the MAP program for about 128,000 low-income college students with the possibility of serving an additional 15,000 eligible students.
•    $260 million for operations for community colleges
•    $49.8 million for career and technical education as well as GED programs
•    Nearly $14 million to support operations at City Colleges of Chicago

Sen. Trotter's remarks on the floor:

 

 

mcguire map 012816State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Joliet), chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, voted to pass Senate Bill 2043.

“These students have faith that earning a degree will help them and our state flourish,” McGuire said. “They also have faith – which I heard expressed at four hearings across Illinois – that the state of Illinois will fulfill its promise to help them pay for college. The General Assembly voted today to honor that. Now it’s the governor’s turn.”

Last May, the General Assembly passed MAP grant legislation, which the governor vetoed. And in August, SB 2043 stalled in the House. This version of SB 2043 that passed the House on Thursday not only includes MAP grant funding but money for community colleges and career-technical and adult education as well.

Sen. McGuire:

 

 

lightford map 012816Long-time education advocate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Chicago) rose in defense of essential MAP grant dollars being provided by legislation, before a successful vote out of the Senate.

“I think what is important for us to notice is that this budget impasse that we’re in is affecting the lives of young people who really just need a good start in life. And we all pride ourselves in saying how important education is. Here is an example today of where we can actually put our votes where our mouths are.

“There are thousands and thousands of thousands of students on university campuses where the universities were kind enough to let students return for a spring semester after receiving no MAP grant dollars. But there were some colleges that said we can’t afford you.

“So we have a lot of students who were not able to return to learning because we [lawmakers] fell short of our part. I think this (vote) gives us an awesome opportunity to show people we care about and that we want to help them.”

“The state made a commitment to our students and families. It’s about time we honor our promises to fund MAP grants and make investments in our future.”

Sen. Lightford's remarks:

 

 

Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) spoke in support of SB 2043 on the floor, saying a MAP grant gave her the lift she needed to go to college and succeed:

 

 

“The state made a commitment to our students and families," said State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). "It’s about time we honor our promises to fund MAP grants and make investments in our future.”

 

 


Senator Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago): “We need to put MAP grant money where it belongs. We promised students that it would be there and it would only continue to damage our credibility if we tried to take it away. I urge the governor to quickly sign this legislation so our students can have the comfort of knowing we do support them.”

Saint Xavier University students this year were eligible to receive nearly $7 million dollars in MAP grants. Moraine Valley Community College students were eligible to receive $2.4 million dollars in MAP grants.

 

 

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park): “Although this does little to advance a budget, it does ensure the state lives up to the promise it made to support young people who want to stay in college but can’t afford to do so on their own. I urge the governor to sign SB 2043 into law as soon as possible and then refocus his attention on negotiating a state budget in good faith with lawmakers.” 

State Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston): “The current situation is an outrage, and I am very disappointed that we continue to vote on piecemeal steps rather than a comprehensive, sustainable and fair solution to our fiscal problems. However, given the choice between taking this one step today or instead continuing to unnecessarily punish low-income college students, passage of this bill was the far better option.”


State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton): “MAP grant funding provides students who are struggling economically the chance to work toward a better and brighter future,” said Forby. “Today, we voted to ensure students have the opportunity to continue their education. It is important we continue to provide Illinois students with the tools they need to enter the workforce. Today, we made this a priority by ensuring students continue to have access to an education.”

State Senator Dave Koehler (D – Peoria): “Low-income students should be able to pursue higher education without the burden of extreme debts or the fear that they might not be able to afford it,” said state Senator Dave Koehler (D – Peoria), co-sponsor of the legislation.


State Senator Mattie Hunter
(D-Chicago): “Our teens have suffered enough during the budget impasse. I’m proud we passed funding to help MAP grant recipients continue their schooling. We should continue fighting to keep great institutions such as Chicago State University open as well.”


Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago): “Our students are our future, and having state aid available is crucial for ensuring that they can pursue higher education and achieve their career goals. It’s frustrating that students and community colleges have faced so much uncertainty because of the state’s budget impasse. The governor needs to do the right thing and sign this legislation into law immediately.”


State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora): “This should have been done a long time ago. Failing to deliver on these grants has been harmful to students who are working toward a better education. I urge Governor Rauner to do the right thing by businesses and the next generation of workers who will make them strong: Sign this funding into law.”


State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines): “We must continue to invest in our community colleges, like Harper and Oakton Community College, to give students the opportunity to go to school, earn an education and achieve the American dream. Failing to invest in these programs fails an entire future generation.”


State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford): “Rock Valley College is a tremendous asset to the entire Rockford area. It is past time they received this funding to allow them to do what they do best – educating the future of our state.”


State Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey): “Providing low-income students the means to afford a college education should be a priority for any elected official,” Harris said. “We’ve forced these students and universities to wait for this aid for far too long. I’m proud to support people who are trying to better themselves and our communities. We must do what we can to prevent colleges who are on a fiscal cliff from closing. Many students in my district attend Chicago State. I want to help them and all public universities in our state.”


Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights): “MAP enables more than 100,000 students across our state to attend college. This includes many first-generation college students, older adults returning to gain skills after raising children and thousands of working class families who otherwise wouldn't have a chance at a college education. These students, through no fault of their own, were stuck in the middle of Illinois' budget impasse and faced having to drop out of school entirely because of it. “I proudly voted to support these students today, and I hope the governor agrees.”