UIS still funding MAP grants

Stopgag budget provided retroactive funding only for last year's monetary awards

Jeff Burnett, Staff Writer

UIS will continue to support students who receive MAP grants through the fall semester amid the ongoing budget crisis in Illinois.

“Providing students with an exceptional and affordable college experience remains a top priority at UIS,” Chancellor Susan Koch said in the statement.

The school has been working with Gov. Bruce Rauner and lawmakers to approve Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding for the coming year and for the years following.

“We’re doing a lot of advocating, a lot of meetings, talking with our state reps and working with the governor’s office,” said Director of Public Relations Derek Schnapp.

Last year, UIS grant-eligible students received roughly $2.3 million toward their tuition and fees with an average award amount of $3,200 per year. Each student that is eligible for the award can receive up to $4,968 from the state.

“We have about 700 students on campus who receive MAP,” said UIS Student Trustee Nathan Hoffman. “Without those dollars many of them would not be able to come to UIS.”

The MAP award is distributed to students individually, based on financial need and the student’s family income contribution. It is not a part of the direct funding that the state provides to the university.

The Illinois General Assembly agreed on legislation earlier this year that would supply $600 million in funding for higher education.

Gov. Rauner signed the bill as a temporary fix, which came as a relief for some schools such as Chicago State University, which came close to closing its doors.

That bill also funded MAP grants with $170 million of the $600 million being allocated specifically for that program.

“That didn’t come through until almost June, and it was a partial budget,” Schnapp said. “So it only covered the MAPs from last year, and it did not cover this year.”

UIS, along with other institutions in the state, self-funded the MAP so students could further their education while the impasse continued.

Recently, at the end of the spring legislative session, the governor and lawmakers came together to pass a “stopgap” budget in order to keep the state government operating for six months. The temporary measure provided funding for elementary and secondary education, so schools could open in the fall. It also helped with providing funds for social services in the state.

Legislators have been in gridlock for more than a year over passing a budget, which has caused issues in the state with funding its schools, social services, higher education and MAP Grants. Gov. Rauner included reforms in his turnaround agenda in the proposed budget, but the Democratic-controlled General Assembly has defied his requests.

“This ultimately comes down to a battle between Gov. Rauner and Speaker [Michael] Madigan over the role of government in Illinois,” Hoffman said. “For the most vulnerable it hurts, but I’m optimistic that after this fall election, a grand compromise can be made.”