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MAP Grant Cuts Effect College Students
No More Money Left to Support the Grant

Thousands of college students across Illinois rely on the Monetary Award Program Grant, also called the MAP Grant, to help pay their tuition.

Officials from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission fund the $200 million grant, but say they had to cut their funding in half due to Illinois’ multi-million dollar deficit. Now state legislators are trying to come up with ideas to fund the grant.

North Central College has more than 700 students that rely on the MAP Grant and say those students receive up to $2,500 a year.

Senior at NCC Danielle Cifonie says she’s ready to graduate in the spring, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support.

“My family doesn’t have a lot of money and there’s three of us, two of us are in college,” said Cifonie.

College officials say the majority of students that receive the grant come from families that earn less than $20,000 a year. NCC Financial Advisor Marty Rossman said he doesn’t have a lot of alternative ideas for financial support.

“We tried to help students by offering them an institutional loan that was interest free,” said Rossman. “Obviously it’s a loan and they’re going to have to pay it back at a later date, but at least it can help them cover the shortfall that they have.”

Legislators say come January 1, 2010, the money to support the MAP Grant will be gone. Republican leaders though say they have one idea that can help raise more than $100 million.

“There is an amnesty bill being propose of that we hope to pass,” said Darlene Senger representative for the 96th District. “It’s a way for those who haven’t paid their taxes to pay their taxes without penalty or interest charges.”

The General Assembly begins its session on October 14, where it will decide the fate of the MAP Grant.

NCTV17’s Shannon Coughlin reports

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