SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by hundreds of students and educators from across the state at the “MAP Matters Day Rally,” an event organized to raise awareness for the Governor’s plan to double funding for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) over the next five years. From Rockford College to Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, college students from far and wide traveled to gather in the Capitol’s rotunda to voice their support for MAP scholarships and the importance of this program. In the first year alone, Governor Quinn’s plan to double MAP funding will provide 21,000 more students with an opportunity to attend college that would not otherwise be available. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure all people have access to quality education and opportunity.
“A scholarship can make the difference in whether or not a deserving student can attend college,” Governor Quinn said. “I commend all students and educators here today who are standing up for this great cause. An increase in MAP funding will help thousands of Illinois students attend college and prepare them for jobs in the 21st century economy.”
Governor Quinn proposed doubling the state’s investment in MAP during his 2014 State of the State address and followed through on this commitment in his annual budget. The state currently allocates $373 million for MAP grants, which benefit more than 140,000 students across the state. The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget calls for an increase of $50 million, which will give 21,000 more students access to grant funds. Approximately 58 percent of MAP recipients have no available resources to pay for college.
During April, the Governor visited DePaul University in Chicago, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bradley University in Peoria and Western Illinois University in Macomb as part of his drive to increase MAP grant funding and provide more college scholarships to deserving students in financial need. All five of these schools have a large number of students who are able to attend college thanks to MAP grants.
Governor Quinn has long championed the MAP scholarship program and has fought to protect it since taking office. In fiscal year 2010, after legislative cuts to funding for the MAP program, Governor Quinn successfully fought to have funding reinstated.
After securing comprehensive pension reform and taking other tough budget steps to free up resources for the classroom, Governor Quinn laid out an honest and responsible budget for the next fiscal year along with a five-year blueprint that will secure the state’s finances, provide significant property tax relief to homeowners and working families, and invest like never before in the classroom and early childhood.
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the MAP program, received a record number of eligible MAP applications through the end of February, up eight percent over the same period last year. Students can apply for MAP, Pell Grants and other forms of financial aid by completing and filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Contact ISAC at (800) 899-4722 or visit isac.org for more information.