MAP College Grants: Illinois Students Get Theirs Back

The week is starting with some financial aid good news: it looks like Illinois students are going to get their MAP College Grants back.

A few months ago, state budget gaps and an earlier-than-usual application deadline resulted in depriving more than 130,000 low-income students of the Illinois Monetary Award Program college grants they were counting on. Yesterday, the Illinois governor signed legislation that approved the restoration of the MAP program’s 2009-2010 funding. The only thing is: no one’s exactly sure yet where the $200 million is going to come from.

The governor thinks he and the Illinois legislature can figure out a way to borrow it from a state bank account or two that ended up with more money than they needed this year. But however they manage it, it must be a relief to Illinois college students to know that they’ll get their MAP college grants after all, and that they won’t be forced to drop out of school.

If you’re a student in a state where it doesn’t look like state financial aid is coming back any time soon, you can always appeal to your school’s financial aid office for help. If you can prove that student aid you were counting on fell through due to true economic hardship, your school may be able to get you more federal financial aid.

As far as Illinois is concerned, it appears that the budget cuts’ impact on college students (and the resulting publicity) has renewed state officials’ commitment to higher education, which is good news for everyone. The state’s only way back to a working economy is through education and training for new industries and new jobs. Both current students and workers who were laid off too late to make the state financial aid deadline last spring will benefit from restored MAP college grants, and in the long run, so will Illinois.

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