Spring Monetary Award Program funding restored

By Gus Bode

The Illinois State Legislature approved the restoration of funds for the Monetary Award Program Monday after it was cut from the budget last year.

Legislators cut $33 million from MAP funds last year to help cover the budget deficit. MAP grants are a taxpayer-supported aid that is awarded to eligible students who demonstrate financial need for higher education. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the group that administers funds, was awarded $33.5 million Monday to cover the spring semester.

In an email to the university community, SIU President Glenn Poshard said students would have had their spring MAP grants cut by 8 percent, which would cost the university at least $2 million.


“Had we lost that funding, I think it would have severely impacted many students,” he said. “If they don’t have that available, it disrupts their planning and them being able to stay in school.”

Poshard said he is assured Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the legislation within the next two weeks.

Public universities have taken major pay cuts in the form of student assistance programs, and he now sees change of thinking in the Illinois state legislature when he has lobbied for additional funding, he said.

“We have really made a case that this is their investment in the lives of students to get that bachelor’s degree because that is the meal ticket to the great middle class of America,” Poshard said. “If you want to build the economy and build the country right, then don’t cut the student assistance funds.”