EC receives MAP grant funds as a result of Springfield approving state budget

File Photo Students from several Illinois colleges meet at Loyola University in November 2016 to urge state legislatures to reinstate MAP grant funds.

File Photo

Students from several Illinois colleges meet at Loyola University in November 2016 to urge state legislatures to reinstate MAP grant funds.

Kenneth Edison, Managing Editor

Follow him on twitter: @krazo1

Elmhurst College (EC) continued to be eligible to receive Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant money for both the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters after losing MAP grant funding to a lack of a state budget.

Karen Kissel, EC’s CFO and vice president of finance, sent an email to the EC community on July 20 saying, “Today, Elmhurst College received its [MAP] payment for the 2016 Fall Term—a little over $2 million.”

Funding for the Spring semester would come a week later on July 28th, when the remaining $1.9 million was received.

This restoration of funds is the result of the Illinois state Senate voting to approve a balanced budget on July 4, ending a two year stalemate that saw a prolonged disruption in government payments.

The absence of MAP funds in the past year caused widespread distress for college students across the state, sparking protests and an influx of letters sent to state representatives in Springfield. 

The decision to grant MAP funds to students for the 2017-2018 school year was made last spring, despite the school not receiving approval for the funds from the state untilJuly. 

EC was forced to provide replacement funds for those EC students who were promised MAP grant funds in their financial aid awards for the 2016-2017 school year. This replacement fund, however, was only planned to cover that year, leading many MAP students to speculate as to whether they would receive these funds in the future. 

According to Desiree Chen, EC’s Senior Director of Communications and External Relations, “[EC] wanted all MAP-eligible students to know that the college would make sure they were covered,” she said. 

“We didn’t want our students to have to live with the uncertainty,” Kissel continued, “which is why the college developed EC replacement grants in the first place. As it turned out, the legislature did approve MAP funding for the 2017-18 academic year.”

According to Kissel, EC had 929 MAP students in the 2016-2017 school year, an increase from the 740 students that received the grant in the 2015-2016 school year.