By Michelle Bruce
This semester, students who were eligible for the Monetary Award Program saw a painful decrease in their funding. For the spring semester, students suffered a 5% decrease in funding that is used to pay tuition and other college expanses.
The MAP Grant gives grants to Illinois residents who attend approved colleges in the state and who show financial need. Eligibility is shown based on information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or as we know it, FAFSA.
Monmouth College students received an email from Jayne Schreck, the College Financial Aid Director, saying that the reduction reported at the beginning of the semester was an estimate, and will be finalized at the end of the semester. .
For the last couple of years, the funds for the MAP Grant have been diminishing at a rapid pace. To be eligible to receive the MAP Grant for this coming year, applicants have to file FAFSA as soon as possible. Schreck adds, “The deadline is an unknown moving target which will occur when the state’s funds are depleted.”
Last year, the budget for the MAP grant was cut in half, losing around $200 million, and 130,000 eligible students were denied funding because the program ran out of money. For the 2010-2011 school year, a projected 22,000 students did not receive money.
Like many students, Megan Lehrer is afraid of losing the MAP Grant, “If I don’t get the MAP Grant next year, I don’t even know if I will be able to come back for my senior year.”
. This huge reduction means fewer students will be eligible for the MAP Grant and those who are eligible will receive less money. The Financial Aid Department is stressing the importance of filing FAFSA as soon as possible. While FAFSA requires completed tax returns, Schreck suggest students file with estimated numbers because “it is more important that it is filed early/before the deadline.” Students can always re-access FAFSA and change tax information.