How the MAP grant veto affects SIUE

By Cory Davenport, The Alton Telegraph

A recent veto from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner may affect residents seeking funds to attend Illinois colleges and universities.

Senate Bill 2043 passed through the Illinois General Assembly on Jan. 28. The bill would have approved funding for the state’s Monetary Award Program grants. But Rauner vetoed the bill Feb. 19, stating 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.”

Southern Illinois University — Edwardsville Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Doug McIlhagga said the university’s MAP grants are funded through the spring 2016 semester. Currently, the state’s unfulfilled obligations for the university’s MAP grants has totaled more than $7 million.


The absence of those funds has had a measurable effect on the school’s operations, according to McIlhagga.

“The most readily apparent impact on campus is the renovation of the Science Building has been stopped in its tracks, but plans had already been made to hold those classes in other buildings, so that will just continue for a longer period,” McIlhagga said in an email. “Overall, [there is] a reduction in maintenance funds by $1.1 million.”

A 9 percent budget realignment by SIUE Interim Chancellor Steve Hansen last fall ensured the university could cover expenses through the remainder of fiscal year.

“Every consideration has been made to protect the excellence of our classroom teaching and experience,” McIlhagga said. “Like all other state schools, we’ve dipped into our reserves to cover costs generally met by state appropriations.”

In 2015, MAP provided funding for as many as 128,000 students, according to a release from Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). Manar supported the bill, which he claimed could provide an additional 15,000 low-income students with those grants. He said 57 percent of MAP recipients are the first in their families to attend college.

“I don’t understand how denying needy college students access to financial aid turns our state around,” Manar said in a statement. “The governor had the opportunity to make some changes to the proposal, which would have given the legislature a chance to find a middle ground. His actions [Feb. 19] showed no willingness to compromise.”

According to Rauner, SB 2043 would appropriate $721 million for the MAP program as well as for community colleges. He said in a statement, the program proposed the same funding levels as programs in last year’s budget, which he described as “unconstitutional” and “unbalanced.”

Following that veto, Rauner expressed a concern the bill did not put forward a plan to fund the programs. This issue was voiced by Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) when SB 2043 passed the Illinois General Assembly in January.

After issuing the veto, Rauner proposed the passage of House Bill 4539 and SB 2349 would appropriate $1.6 billion for higher education programs as well as SB 2789, which would authorize the governor, comptroller and treasurer to identify and implement funding by reallocating funds and reducing spending in other areas.

“Together these bills would fund MAP, community college programs and our public universities, without exploding the deficit or exacerbating the state’s cash flow crisis,” Rauner said in a release. “This is a far more fiscally responsible – and constitutional – plan for funding higher education.”


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