CHICAGO—The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) issued a statement today recognizing the tireless efforts of student activists, the higher education community, state lawmakers and the governor’s office following the passage and signing of a bill into law that provides $205 million in additional spending authority for the Monetary Award Program (MAP).
More than 2,500 students and activists converged on Springfield for a MAP rally Thursday, where they presented over 10,000 petition signatures in support of MAP funding restoration to Governor Pat Quinn before marching on to the state capitol.
Donald McNeil, chairman of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said, “It’s rather unusual these days to see students organize around one issue and let their voices be heard. The support the (Monetary Award) Program has received from students across the state—from four-year publics, private liberal arts colleges, community colleges and proprietary schools—shows what can be done when you come together with a common interest.”
“We should all be proud of the responsible, energetic and focused political involvement of our students in this process,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “The people of Illinois have made it clear that the Monetary Award Program is important. We were gratified to see the General Assembly and Governor reaffirm their support as well. We thank our elected officials for their quick action.”
With Governor Quinn’s signing of Senate Bill 1180 (Frerichs/Madigan) on Sunday, October 18, in Chicago, full-year awards for the nearly 138,000 Illinois college students that receive MAP grants will be restored. The Commission will continue to process Fall payment claims until January 10, 2010, and will notify institutional financial aid advisors when ready to process payment requests for second and third terms.
The saveillinoismapgrants.org Web site will continue operations as a resource for students to write “thank you” letters to state leaders and encourage discussion about the future funding of MAP and other financial aid programs.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission provides students of all ages and backgrounds with the resources and support to obtain financial aid for higher education. A state agency, ISAC has paved the path to post-secondary education with innovative programs for over 50 years. Last year alone, ISAC continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by issuing 186,000 grants and scholarships totaling nearly $431 million.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans, as a loan guarantor and via numerous public programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and the College Illinois!® 529 Prepaid Tuition Program. Students and families have free access to a wealth of financial aid and college planning information at ISAC’s family of websites available at www.knowhow2GOIllinois.org.