The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015—minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.
The Monetary Award Program, known as MAP, provides grants of up to $4,700 to low-income college students. The two-year budget impasse shone a bright light on the program, as these students spoke out about how the lack of funding threw their lives into chaos.
Lawmakers responded by increasing the amount going to MAP scholarships by 10 percent in the new state budget.
“This was good. I applaud the general assembly for passing this budget with respect to MAP," said Tom Cross, who led House Republicans for more than a decade and now chairs the state board of higher education.
Even this increase, he said, isn’t enough.
"We could, in terms of the need to take care of all the kids eligible for MAP, we actually need more money.”
Cross said he hopes this renewed commitment to MAP funding will persuade students to stay in Illinois.