Rallies won’t solve Ill. MAP grant woes

Close to 138,000 students statewide rely on MAP grants for their tuition. Almost 6,000 of those students are from our campus. Those students had to face the reality of their situations: that they may not be able to return to school in January because the government swept the rug out from underneath their feet. And while Gov. Pat Quinn practically promises us that MAP grants will be fully-funded within the next few General Assembly Veto sessions, it’s somewhat hard to take his word on it. Quinn signed a bill July 15, which reduced the amount of money allocated toward MAP grants by $200 million— and now, practically three months after his decision, he has pledged to get the funding back. Fully aware of the cuts being made, Quinn signed the state budget into effect this summer. But now, he is campaigning for the renewal of funding for the MAP grants. While we applaud the sentiment, we don’t agree with his methods.

As part of a series of rallies to encourage the Illinois General Assembly to continue to fund MAP grants, Gov. Quinn was on campus Wednesday. Being an accessible leader, one who has visited our campus three times in the past few months, Quinn has made it clear to us that he wants us to communicate with him our needs and wants as students. Politicians rarely come to school campuses, and when they do, it’s usually a political move. The case of Quinn rallying support for MAP grants is a perfect example. The 6,000 students on our campus who have already begun to look into other options to fund their tuition do not need the Governor, let alone any other politician, touting their support for MAP grants if it was by their hand that the MAP grants were taken away in the first place.

The 6,000 students on our campus are already passionate about getting those grants back — they don’t need someone to heighten their emotions. Instead, they need someone who will be their leader and represent his constituent’s best interests. It takes more than a series of rallies to bring about change, and quite frankly, Quinn is in a better position to reach legislators than us. Not to say our lobbying does not count— it does. But the students who care about MAP grants have already looked into how to get them back. It’s Quinn’s turn to do his part. That does not include relying on students alone to get the grants fully funded.

Students are fully aware of the issue, and those that have been affected are already fighting back. They don’t need any motivation. With a gubernatorial election a little over a year away, the Governor’s sudden passion for the MAP grants cause seems a little convenient. Instead of flying around the state to tour college campuses, maybe the Governor could start making a few phone calls. As voters, we’re not impressed by his showmanship. We want action and we want our MAP grants back.