The Roosevelt Institute, with Young Invincibles and Women Employed, is working to defend access to public education in Illinois through investment in the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP). Partnering with organizations and students across the state, we are asking gubernatorial candidates for a commitment to stabilized funding in the event of another budget impasse, and in the long-term pushing for increased funding to ensure all students have access to higher education.
Due to chronic underfunding, less than half of the students eligible for the program actually receive the grant, forcing many students to either take out loans or turn down an education at the school of their choice due to the cost of those institutions. While MAP grants don’t cover the full cost of attendance anywhere, they are a key part of financial aid packages for many students who use them not just to cover tuition but also to cover hidden costs of attendance like housing, textbooks, transportation, food, and child care.
Despite increases to funding after the 2016 budget impasse, the future is unknown and students do not want to be put in an at-risk position due to state-level politics. We can’t wait for another crisis to mobilize and defend our ability to access higher education.