News - "The Check's in the Mail" - Words MAP Grant Awardees Long to Hear

"The Check's in the Mail" - Words MAP Grant Awardees Long to Hear

IL State CapitolFor the second straight year, state legislators have dragged their feet fulfilling promises they made to college students at the start of the school year.

Months later, with spring semester winding down, students struggling to make ends meet have failed to see the promised relief from Illinois' Monetary Awards Program (MAP).

On average, MAP Grant awardees at GC each receive more than $4,000 in tuition assistance for the year. Prior to the start of the current school year, the state awarded 281 students at the College a total of $1.1M. The funds have not arrived.

Reprise of Last Year's Crisis

The current lag is reminiscent of the state’s failure last year to deliver MAP funds in a timely manner. That delay exacerbated cash flow problems for students, colleges and universities throughout the state. At GC, funds to cover fall tuition finally arrived in late spring, and funds to cover spring tuition arrived during the summer. The College and its donors stepped in to assist affected students, but the solution entailed restructuring on the part of the College and significant loss of personnel.

Students are responsible for paying their bills whether grant monies arrive or not. Under normal circumstances, they must pay tuition before the start of a semester. Now, however, GC has made special allowances for MAP Grant awardees to carry balances on their bills as the prolonged wait continues.

Students Struggle to Fill the MAP Gap

Financial Aid Advisor Ashley Chaney says many MAP awardees have dealt with the cash flow crisis by taking out additional loans. She hears their stories of struggle:

  • The married couple scheduled to graduate in May takes out additional loans to also cover living expenses. Staying the course toward their degrees seems the wisest option, but far more costly than they anticipated last fall.
  • The sophomore majoring in pastoral ministry moves off campus to reduce costs, but now anticipates also covering the Map Grant portion of his bill, a sum that dwarfs his attempts at thrift.
  • The senior education major without family support worries that she will also need to cover the $4,720 shortfall on a teacher's salary no less.
  • The married father of three nearing completion of his teacher education training takes on additional debt in the amount of his missing MAP grant.

Parents of students want to know why the College can’t step in and provide relief as it did last year.

“I try and remind them that we’d love to,” says Chaney, “but it’s $1.1M; most schools can’t cover that.”

Learn More

State's Failure to Deliver MAP Grants Throws Students Into Tailspin
MAP Grant Issue
Attack on the MAP: Finding a Solution for the Funding of Higher Education

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This story was published on April 11, 2017

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