Students fight to bring back MAP

By Gus Bode

Students working to restore the Monetary Award Program gave their personal testimonies Monday in hopes of convincing the General Assembly to find money for the grant.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which provides funding for student grants such as the MAP, held its final public hearing at 11 a.m. Monday in the Student Center Auditorium. Don McNeil, chairman of the commission, said the purpose of the hearing was to create a record of public testimony to help persuade the General Assembly to restore the MAP grant.

‘This is a program that has universal support, but no funding,’ McNeil said.


Funding for the grant, which affects more than 5,000 students on the Carbondale campus, was cut in half this year, leaving no money for grants in the spring semester.

‘If we fail to meet this fundamental challenge ‘hellip; then whatever else we do won’t matter. We will have failed this generation,’ said SIU President Glenn Poshard.

Chancellor Sam Goldman said if the grant does not get restored, the university could lose the more than 5,000 MAP recipients in spring.

‘If they don’t return in the spring semester, I am told we will not see them again, and that is a terrible loss,’ Goldman said. ‘I would actually go to gloom and doom and say we cannot recover from that.’

Donovan LeMay, a junior from Elk Grove studying management, said in his public testimony financial aid and the MAP grant are the only ways he can pay for his college education. LeMay said he joined the military after high school in order to receive the GI Bill to help pay tuition, but he has not received any money from it yet.

‘I’ve come to expect disappointment from the federal government, but not from my state,’ LeMay said. ‘The MAP Grant – it’s my livelihood.’

Aaron Mallory, a senior from Flossmoor studying electrical engineering, said he has worked for five years to get his bachelor’s degree, and spring is supposed to be his final semester at the university. Mallory said without the grant, he might not be able to finance that final semester.


‘ ‘I feel like the state of Illinois has given up on its students,’ Mallory said.

Kristi Brownfield, a doctoral student in sociology from Champaign-Urbana, said though she is not a MAP recipient anymore, cuts in grant funding affect both her students and her job.

Brownfield said half of her students are MAP recipients, and if those students do not return next semester, it would only be a matter of time before her classes are cut and her job as a graduate assistant is lost.

‘It’s just depressing to see that we even have to argue to get (MAP) funded,’ Brownfield said.

Andy Davis, executive director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said students have organized great efforts to restore the grant, but the real battle will be Thursday in Springfield.

‘That’s when you’ve really got to raise some hell,’ Davis said. ‘This is do or die.’

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 254.