CHICAGO — The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced that it has received 5,074 eligible Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant applications in the four days since the agency began denying eligible applicants due to lack of funds; award announcements were suspended starting Monday, April 19. Students who were eligible but denied could still receive a full or partial MAP grant for the 2010-2011 academic year if additional program funds are received or if award claim rates are not as high as anticipated.
The agency projects the total number of MAP-eligible students will be 409,000 and estimates applications received after April 19th from students who would have been eligible but are now denied due to the lack of funds will total 220,000, barring the adoption of ISAC's proposed bonding solution or another influx of funds to the program. ISAC advises students to continue to complete the 2010-11 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as there is still federal financial aid available in the form of Pell grants and student loans.
Of the 5,074 applicants denied the state's need-based college financial aid program thus far, 3,056 (60 percent) selected a community college as their top choice on the FAFSA. ISAC estimates over 140,000 community college students will not receive awards absent additional, alternative funding for the program.
“The agency developed a proposal to generate additional revenue sources for MAP to help meet this unprecedented demand,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “Our Monetary Award Program Capital Investment Bond Proposal is a secondary funding mechanism intended to provide additional dollars for the program without raising taxes, using revenue-supported bonds to supplement the state's appropriated funds for the entire Monetary Award Program. It doesn’t change the formula for MAP award eligibility.”
The Commission provides further background information regarding the proposal, research and resources, endorsements and weekly updates to MAP grant suspension activity at the MAP Cap I-Bond Web site, www.collegezone.com/mapcap.
The maximum award a student may receive through MAP is $4,968, and the mean award has historically been between $2,600 and $2,700. The last time the Commission paid out each of the claims it received (139,421) with no award suspensions was the 2000-01 academic year.
“For years, the State of Illinois has made a robust commitment to this need-based financial aid program, and we are grateful for the support we have for the Monetary Award Program by our elected officials,” continued Davis. “Now is an extraordinary time, and we need to be creative in providing solutions in keeping college accessible and affordable for all Illinois students.”
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. The commission continued its mission to make college accessible and affordable for Illinois students by administering over 183,000 grants and scholarships totaling over $430 million in FY2009 alone.
The Commission provides educational funding with student loans and via numerous programs such as the Monetary Award Program (MAP), the Illinois Veteran Grant and 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 Web sites available at www.KnowHow2GOIllinois.org.