MAP eligible students may need to refund UI

By Marijo Enderle

Assistant news editor

The University announced Tuesday that students may be required to refund part of their financial aid package in the spring, due to Springfield’s ongoing fight over the state budget.

In a massmail sent to Monetary Award Program, MAP, grant eligible students, Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson said the University may remove the MAP grant award amount from student’s accounts and require students to refund the money if the University does not receive funding for MAP grants from the state when the overdue budget is finalizedbr.

“It’s a tremendous tragedy (for students),” said Mitch Dickey, student body presidentbr.

Thus far in the fall semester, over $12 million in MAP grants has been distributed to 5,667 University students, despite the lack of a planned state budgetbr.

The University’s decision to credit MAP grants was made on the assumption that the budget would be decided and the program would be funded at $373.25 million, the same amount budget in fiscal year 2015br.

( June 25, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have allocated $397,073,100 to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission to fund MAP grantsbr.

(“It’d be insane if we ended up going into next semester, and we still didn’t have any funding for MAP. There are over 130,000 students in the state of Illinois who rely on MAP grants,” Dickey said. “Those students are faced with either dropping out or having to figure out someway to pay for the grants out of pocket.”

The Illinois Student Senate, ISS, traveled to the capitol building in Springfield on Oct. 20 for a “Crisis Advocacy Day” to lobby in favor MAP grants and against Rauner’s proposed 31.5 percent cut to higher education fundingbr.

( ISS organized a letter writing campaign to Illinois legislators, sending 70 handwritten letters written by students ahead of an Illinois House Committee on the whole meeting discussing MAP grant fundingbr.

“In addition, we’re working a lot with phone banking, phone calling, putting as much pressure as we can on every single rep,” Dickey said. “Now that we have that roll call vote… we pretty much know which reps are against it, which reps are on the border of how they want to vote and which reps are in our favor.”

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