The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

General Assembly passes budget to partially restore MAP funding

In February, protestors rallied together in hopes of saving Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. A recent budget deal will fund the grants that many DePaul students use to go to school.

The Illinois General Assembly passed a stopgap budget that would provide back-funding to the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant for college students.

More than 4,500 students receive MAP grant funding as part of their financial aid to attend DePaul University. The grant is awarded to financially disadvantaged college students. And for the 2014-15 school year, $373 million was awarded for the grant.

The funding for the MAP grant was halted earlier this year following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that was to provide $721 million for funding.

Richard Popp, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said he sees this news as a sigh of relief after months of protesting and petitioning the Illinois government for more MAP grant funding.

“It’s a refreshing sight to see legislators finally working together to ensure our state functions as it should,” he said. “Although the budget is only for the first six months of the fiscal year, it’s undoubtedly a step in the right direction.”

DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider released a statement to all eligible MAP grant recipients today, reminding them this does not have a profound effect on recipients for the upcoming academic year.

“The budget, however, includes no provision for funding the MAP grants awarded to our students for the 2016-17 academic year,” he said. “While we have some reason to hope that the state will also honor these commitments in time, we also understand the uncertainty this causes our students and their families.”

The email went on to say DePaul would “continue to help if the state’s funding of the MAP grants is not resolved during the coming academic year.”

“As we did for the year just completed, in keeping with our mission as a Vincentian Catholic Institution, DePaul will honor MAP grants for the entire upcoming 2016-17 academic year, for all students who meet the eligibility requirements for MAP awards.”

Popp said it’s important to keep in the mind the future of MAP funding while celebrating this victory.

“As we experienced this past year, it’s really hard to predict the long-term effects because of the uncertainty ahead,” he said. “We are incredibly lucky to be in a situation where our institution can afford to help cover a portion of MAP but, at the same time, how long will our state officials think this is acceptable behavior to allow students and families to face this type of uncertainty when it comes to their future?”

Holtschneider said he encourages activism that led to this victory to continue in the upcoming year to ensure funding in the future.

“The steps taken by legislators last week were the result, in part, of continued urging from their constituents to take action,” he said. “I ask and encourage all Illinois residents to continue their outreach to state legislators in Springfield telling them how much you care about the state’s financial aid for disadvantaged students.”
Ropp said this is something he and others in SGA will keep monitoring over the upcoming months. Along with other initiatives, MAP funding has been a large part of SGA’s mission and outreach to help the DePaul community.

“If not much seems to happen in terms of a budget in the coming three months, I think we will have to ramp up our actions similar to last year’s MAP advocacy,” he said. “I’ve been in touch with other student governments from across the state, all of whom are also going to approach the situation with the same token. That said, we, as SGA, will always advocate for the MAP grant regardless of the situation regarding the budget because until there is enough for every eligible individual across the state, there will always need to be a push for the grant.”

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