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Rauner vetos MAP grant bill

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would restore funding to the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grant, which has been in limbo due to the state’s continuing budget impasse. In response, the university reinforced its support and extended its support for recipients.

In a statement, Rauner said the bill, which would appropriate $721 million to low-income and working class Illinois college students and higher education, “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.” The governor also emphasized that funding MAP would place further strain on other social services, and force the comptroller to delay payments to the state’s most vulnerable.

In response, DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., sent a letter to students reiterating his support for MAP grants and DePaul recipients.

“DePaul University is disappointed that the political impasse has resulted in the state’s failure to meet its obligation of providing MAP awards to students in the state of Illinois,” Holtschneider said. “In addition, thousands of high school students in Illinois are currently choosing which college to attend in the fall. Uncertainty about MAP funding should not create additional anxiety in making the college choice that best meets their academic and career goals.”

The university previously announced that it would honor MAP funding through the end of this academic year. Today, it said it will also honor funding through the 2016-17 academic year for new entering students who have applied by the cutoff date set by Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which administers the grants, if the budget impasse continues.

Earlier this week, Student Government Association led a rally for MAP grants in conjunction with DePaul and Chicago-area students, faculty and staff. Moving forward, SGA President Vanessa Cadavillo said that they would continue sending postcards to Springfield, and are still planning to lobby at the capital this spring.

“Though DePaul was able to (honor funding) this year, we need to stress what’s going to happen next year, and how we can advocate for students coming in this fall,” she said.

Cadavillo said it was also promising that DePaul would honor funding for incoming students who may be relying on it for the 2016-17 school year.

“For decades the state of Illinois and the federal government have been partners in serving low-income students,” Holtschneider said. “Until Illinois gets its fiscal house in order and implements a sustainable budget, DePaul must step in and make every effort to assure its students that DePaul will support them the best we can.”

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Rauner vetos MAP grant bill