Gov. Pat Quinn addresses MAP funding and college affordability at the Illini Union

Gov.+Pat+Quinn+speaks+at+the+Illini+Union+on+Thursday%2C+April+3%2C+2014.+Quinn+discussed+college+affordability+and+MAP+grant+funding.%C2%A0

Gov. Pat Quinn speaks at the Illini Union on Thursday, April 3, 2014. Quinn discussed college affordability and MAP grant funding. 

By Alex Swanson

Gov. Pat Quinn visited the University Thursday afternoon to address the issue of college affordability and discuss his plan to increase investment in the Monetary Award Program, or MAP, grants.

According to his proposed budget, Quinn intends to add $50 million to MAP funding in the 2015 fiscal year, which will allow about 21,000 more students to receive MAP scholarships. 

Additionally, he intends to double MAP funding within the next five years.

Approximately one-fifth of the University’s undergraduate population receives MAP funding, and about 58 percent of MAP recipients have no other means to pay for college, according to a press release from Quinn. Quinn also remarked that MAP recipients are often first-generation college students.

As the democratic incumbent, Quinn is up for reelection and running against GOP candidate Bruce Rauner, a businessman from Winnetka, Ill.

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Quinn told the audience that if his budget is not approved, there may be a $50 million cut in MAP scholarship funding, which he expressed is unacceptable.

“We’re at a turning point,” Quinn said. “If we go in the wrong direction, we’re going to cut funding for education. I’m opposed to doing that, I believe in investing in education.”

Quinn stated that he believed in investments in education all the way from early childhood education to higher education. He praised the University as the flagship university in the state and one of the best in the world.

“We cannot cut the funding of the University of Illinois by any amount. Period,” Quinn said.

Quinn said there would be a rally in Springfield on April 30. He urged students to contact their legislators to tell them that MAP funding should not be cut by $50 million. 

Alex can be reached at [email protected]