The uncertainty of the future for UIS students

Students concerned with the possibility of not receiving MAP grant assistance

Tamarra Newbern, News Reporter

On Friday, Feb. 19, Gov. Bruce Rauner officially vetoed SB 2043, which was the MAP Grant Bill that would have funded higher education for low-income students across Illinois.

Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants give students who are Illinois residents and are deemed to need financial assistance based off of information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) assistance in their payments toward college tuition. Once the grants are issued, the students do not have to pay back the monetary assistance.

However, GOP lawmakers stated that the proposal would be empty promises because the state of Illinois does not have a budget and no funding source, and Rauner believes that vetoing the bill was a good idea.

Rauner stated, “The bill would explode the State’s budget deficit, exacerbate the State’s cash flow crisis, and place further strain on social service providers and recipients who are already suffering from the State’s deficit spending.”

Rauner believes it is the fault of the General Assembly for not coming up with a definite plan for a budget for the state of Illinois and for not finding an actual funding source for the bill.

Illinois has been without a budget since July of 2015. During a radio interview, Rauner was able to address his plan for the state of Illinois.

“What we’re trying to do with our agenda is actually have the government work for the families here again and grow our economy so we get more jobs and put more money into our schools so we have the best schools in America,” Rauner said. “That’s the right thing to do.”

Many students across the state of Illinois heard about Rauner’s veto, and several students wanted to voice their opinions.

Diamond Dixon, a UIS sophomore and psychology major, may not continue to attend UIS if there is no MAP grant assistance.

“It definitely depends. If something were to change within the next year or so then I would definitely would be able to return but, if they do decide to no longer fund the MAP grants it would definitely put me in a tight situation,” said Dixon

Dixon added, “I do receive scholarships and another grant from the state, but it wasn’t enough to cover the costs of tuition. My parents can’t afford that much to pay for me to attend a university.”

SB 2043 would have allocated $721 million in funding for MAP grants across Illinois.

According to Associate Director of Financial Assistance Carolyn Schloemann, around 600 students receive MAP grants at UIS.

Edwin Robles, a UIS sophomore and political science major expressed his concerns by saying, “It is going to take a financial toll on me. I can speak for a lot of people in my community that for Latinos who come from a lower income background [MAP grants are] a big part of our college experience because we rely on the MAP Grants to get out of these situation[s] we were born into.”

According to Robles, he would have to transfer from UIS if there are no MAP grants in the future.

“I would have to go to a community college instead of attending UIS. I’ve done so much at UIS – I started the soccer club here, I’m in squash club, and I’m in a fraternity. So if I have to move away, I’m going to lose a lot of those things,” Robles said.

Other students, as well as Robles and Dixon, are concerned with Rauner’s decision.

Katelyn Vergil, a sophomore and psychology major, said, “I think it’s unjustified because he doesn’t know what the struggle is to pay for tuition.”

Paul Brobst, a sophomore and accounting major said, “It’s reckless no[t] to invest in education.”

Cashay Jefferson, a sophomore and psychology major, said “That’s $10,000 that’s impossible for me to get. Most students are ultimately concerned for the their future and the future of how higher education is being funded in the state of Illinois.”

Although the bill has been vetoed, it is uncertain what is to be determined in the near future for Illinois universities and colleges.