Editorial: Charting "A Map toward the Future"

In case we haven’t beaten it into your head enough, Illinois doesn’t have a budget, and the ramifications are incredibly hindering.

There have been closures of the Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services and the State History Museum, while cuts loom for potential other colleges and programs.

But the most jarring consequence to The Daily Illini Editorial Board was when the University announced in November that MAP grants, or the Monetary Award Program grants, could be impacted by the budget impasse. MAP grants are a government-funded source that provides 130,000 college students in the state of Illinois with funds to pay for their educations.

In the last fiscal year, $373.25 million were allocated in Illinois for MAP grant recipients. https://www.dailyillini.com/article/2015/11/thousands-to-be-affected-by-map-grant-cut

At Illinois, there are 5,667 students who are dependent on MAP grants. Thankfully, the University is fronting more than $12 million for this semester, but if the impasse is not resolved soon, these 5,667 students will be forced to pay back the money that was promised to them when they were initially provided a MAP grant.

So, The Daily Illini Editorial Board got to wondering: How could we help? That’s why we are considering starting “A MAP toward the future,” an effort to raise enough money to cover the amount students may have to pay back to the University in case the impasse continues.

We’re now up to 140 days without a state budget, so we decided to use our Millennial skills and start a crowdfunding effort. If we eventually go down this route, we’ll look to raise $12 million in hopes to refunding these MAP grants. This sounds absurd, but it’s nowhere near as absurd as being unable to agree on a state budget for nearly five months.

The impasse is a ridiculous result of political grievances. Twelve percent of our campus doesn’t know how they’ll be able to afford paying back the University — let alone for future semesters. That’s why we’re considering taking it into our own hands.

Each of us knows individuals dependent on these grants. A few work here at the DI. But if this is what needs to happen to force the hand of politicians in Springfield waiting for the other side to compromise, then we’ll continue our efforts.

If a bunch of highly educated lawmakers can’t handle the importance of supporting our University’s students, then maybe a few college students can.