New bill to change MAP grant system

Governor+Bruce+Rauner+speaks+out+during+a+press+conference+for+an+announcement+of+a+donation+from+AptarGroup+and+Adapt+Pharma%2C+Thursday%2C+Feb.+8%2C2018.++The+donation+will+go+to+help+prevent+opioid+deaths.++
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New bill to change MAP grant system

Governor Bruce Rauner speaks out during a press conference for an announcement of a donation from AptarGroup and Adapt Pharma, Thursday, Feb. 8,2018.  The donation will go to help prevent opioid deaths.

Governor Bruce Rauner speaks out during a press conference for an announcement of a donation from AptarGroup and Adapt Pharma, Thursday, Feb. 8,2018. The donation will go to help prevent opioid deaths.

TNS

Governor Bruce Rauner speaks out during a press conference for an announcement of a donation from AptarGroup and Adapt Pharma, Thursday, Feb. 8,2018. The donation will go to help prevent opioid deaths.

TNS

TNS

Governor Bruce Rauner speaks out during a press conference for an announcement of a donation from AptarGroup and Adapt Pharma, Thursday, Feb. 8,2018. The donation will go to help prevent opioid deaths.

By Samantha Boyle, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed two bills regarding transferring credits, academic advising and the certainty of the Monetary Award Program, commonly known as MAP grants, for returning students at the University. 

MAP grants are awarded to students who are residents of Illinois and have financial need. The recipient does not need to pay back this type of grant according to House Bill 5020, one of the two bills Rauner signed.

Senate Bill 2354 states every public institution in Illinois needs to arrange meetings between academic advisers and students to inform them about the steps necessary to complete the students’ degree requirements.

These meetings would take place only after students have completed 30 hours of academic credits and are interested in pursuing a degree, whether at initial institution or a prospective transfer school, the bill says.

This bill also states a student can “reverse transfer” credits to receive an associate degree from the community college they attended.

A student can reverse transfer if a student has taken at least 15 credit hours at a community college and “a sufficient number of hours of academic credit at a State university in the prescribed courses necessary to meet a community college’s requirements to be awarded an associate degree,” SB2354 states.  

This requirement will not be enforced until the 2019-20 school year.

Bob Steltman, executive assistant dean for LAS, said the bill’s primary effect on the University might be to mandate advising sessions after a student has earned 30 credit hours.  

Otherwise, he believes community colleges will be most affected by the change, as more community college students transfer than four-year college students. In addition, most University advisers have already had completion discussions with their students, especially those most at risk.    

The bill also says the Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board should encourage policies regarding transferring credits.

HB5020 gives returning Illinois students a guarantee of receiving MAP grants the following year if the student had received one the previous year.

Starting in 2020, returning students who are eligible for a MAP grant or have received one in past years will receive the grant again if their Free Application for Federal Student Aid is completed by the given priority deadline, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission website said.

This priority deadline will be posted by Illinois Student Assistance Commission before the forms for the 2020 to 2021 FAFSA are available.

“If you are an eligible returning student and you complete your FAFSA by the priority deadline, you will get a MAP grant so long as the state has appropriated sufficient funds for MAP for that fiscal/academic year,” the ISAC states.

The bill says ISAC will determine the grant amount for each student. Grants are only used toward tuition and fees.

About $30 million were dispersed to students in MAP grants in 2016 to 2017, said Michelle Trame, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, in an email. A total of 7,209 University students received this money.

“ISAC previously indicated that actual impact to students might not be significant, so we are not anticipating an increase in recipients,” Trame said.

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