Students lose MAP grant money
Students are starting to feel the effects of the delay in the decision of the state budget. Students were informed last week that the spring 2016 MAP grants will be delayed until the state budget is passed.
MAP (Monetary Award Program) grants are used for tuition and fees. Recipients must be Illinois residents, have financial need, be enrolled in a minimum of 3 hours, not be in default on any student loan, not received a bachelor’s degree, among other requirements.
“The loss of the MAP grant not only means that I won’t be able to take an extra class that I would’ve liked to sign up for, but I’ll also be struggling to pay for my books this semester,” said Brittany Rhed, a sophomore in general science at Parkland College.
Parkland has not received any money from the state because of the budget stalemate, but they went ahead and funded the MAP grant for fall semester. This amounted to about one million dollars, and the college could not fund it for the spring semester too, said Tim Wendt, director of Parkland’s Office of Financial Aid.
According to Wendt, scholarships are a great way to supplement the loss of the MAP grant.
“We have over 70 available, and I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but we always have scholarships that go un-awarded because students don’t apply for them,” Wendt said.
Scholarships often require an essay and letters of recommendation; features of which Wendt thinks discourage students from applying. There is the writing lab located in the Center for Academic Success (D120), and scholarship advisors in the Financial Aid office that can help students too.
“Once you log into My.Parkland, the computer knows who you are; your GPA, program of study and where you graduated high school,” Wendt said. “There’s technically going to be more scholarships available to you if you are in a specified program, but there are still scholarships out there for general studies.”
Cyndy White, part time assistant in the Financial Aid office at Parkland, and an office professional major, says it doesn’t make any sense students are losing the MAP grant when the state is complaining about the amount of student loan debt.
“Taking away the MAP grant is just going to make it higher, it is not going to help the situation,” White said.
As a single mom who went back to school later in life, White is not sure what she will do to make up for the loss in grant money.
“I’m going to have to take out student loans—more student loans than I already had to take out,” White said.
Registering early is another way to ensure students are able to get into the classes they want, even with the loss of the MAP grant. This lets the student know exactly how much they owe at the earliest time so they can figure out how much extra money they might need.
“The best thing I can say is get registered in your classes now and start looking for alternative sources if you’re really counting on [the MAP grant], and if you need to come see a financial aid advisor, we are here,” Wendt said. “You can email us, you can call us, or you can come in and see an advisor.”
Financial aid advisors have walk in hours from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Any student wishing to talk about the loss of the MAP grant or how to get more money for school should go in to talk to an advisor before tuition is due for continuing students on December 15.
The office of Financial and Veterans Services can be found in U-286 and can be reached by phone or email at 217-351-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.