No headline provided

By Gus Bode

Funding for the Monetary Award Program grant was halted for the spring semester, and if it is not brought back it could have significant long-term ramifications for SIUC.

More than 5,000 students at SIUC depend on the MAP grant, and its loss could mean the loss of those students.

Chancellor Sam Goldman said at Monday’s State of the University address that everyone from students to administrators must focus efforts on convincing legislators to resume MAP funding.


‘We will have to energize our own efforts, our own imagination, our own perseverance and our own creativity,’ Goldman said.

Goldman said students would campaign to restore MAP funding for spring under the leadership of Nate Brown, SIUC’s student representative to the Board of Trustees.

Students will travel to Springfield Oct. 15 to lobby the Illinois General Assembly during the fall veto session and express the importance of MAP funding.

But if the grant is halted altogether, SIUC’s student body could undergo drastic changes.

Interim Provost Don Rice said SIUC could be forced to recruit higher income students if middle and low-income students do not have the necessary funds to attend the university.

‘What we’re going to have to do is make a stronger effort to recruit in areas where we think people have the income to come here,’ Rice said. ‘That kind of goes against the mission of this institution. This institution has always served first-generation students, students of less-strong economic means.’

Rice said that route would be the last resort, however, and the university would first look for alternate sources of financial aid for middle and lower income students.


Peter Gitau, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, said enough high-income students would not be available to replace students who cannot afford SIUC.

‘All the research points to a future . . . where the profile of the person who is going to be seeking a college education is not going to be the high-income person, but is going to be the low-income person who typically would rely on these grants,’ Gitau said.

Gitau said it is important to educate legislators about the necessity of the MAP grant.

‘I’m not sure that the legislators are as educated as they need to be about the impact of this grant,’ Gitau said. ‘I think legislators need to come to terms with the human aspect of it.’

At the 2008 State of the University address, Goldman set a goal of increasing the retention rate to at least 76 percent.

That goal was not met, however, as Goldman said preliminary figures show the rate staying at 69 percent.

‘(It) is essentially unchanged from a year ago,’ Goldman said. ‘I am confident we will see improvement as a result of our increased focus on retention.’

Stile Smith can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected]