CHICAGO — The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) announced that through May 20, it has received nearly 27,000 eligible Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant applications since the agency began denying eligible applicants due to exhaustion of anticipated funds on Monday, April 19.
“We are averaging more than 5,000 eligible applicants a week since suspending awards April 19,” said ISAC Executive Director Andrew Davis. “We hope students don’t hear this news and get discouraged, as there is still federal and institutional aid out there. The key is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you haven’t done so already.”
Of the 26,910 applicants denied the state's need-based college financial aid program thus far, more than 65 percent (17,575) selected a community college as their top choice on the 2010-11 FAFSA, which is the form used to apply for MAP and federal student aid. Just over 17 percent (4,613) selected a public four-year school and 10 percent (2,776) chose an in-state private college.
The agency projects the eligible applications received after the April 19th suspense date will far exceed the 120,000 eligible students denied MAP grants for the 2009-10 academic year.
Budget initiatives in both chambers of the state’s General Assembly would authorize ISAC to invest about $425 million from the General Revenue Fund over the coming fiscal year in student financial assistance. It is expected that with a $425 million agency appropriation, approximately $400 million would be directed to the need-based MAP, representing a slight increase over the current fiscal year’s funding for the program. However, due to rising tuition and increased demand, the program is expected to serve even fewer eligible students in fiscal year 2011 than it did this year.
The Commission provides further background information regarding the problem, research and resources, and weekly updates to MAP grant suspension activity at the following Web site, www.collegezone.com/mapcap.
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.