Today, Illinois Legislative Black Caucus members stood in support of legislation that would release Monetary Award Program funding to universities throughout the state.
More than 100,000 college students received MAP grants in FY 15. Senate Bill 2043 provides $397.1 million for the MAP program, through which grants could be provided to an additional 15,000 students.
The legislation also provides:
- Over $260 million for operations at community colleges throughout the state
- $14 million is included to support operations at the City Colleges of Chicago
- $49.8 million to fund career and tech education as well as GED programs statewide
The measure now moves on to the governor’s desk for approval.
Below are several quotes from members:
Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)
“Today, I voted in support of Senate Bill 2043, which provides an estimated $397.1 million for the MAP program. I know firsthand the positive effect that this funding has on students, having been a recipient of it myself. It is my hope that the Governor will sign the legislation in law.”
ILBC Chairwoman Kimberly A. Lightford
Senator Napoleon Harris (D – Harvey)
“Providing low-income students the means to afford a college education should be a priority for any elected official,” Harris said. “We’ve forced these students and universities to wait for this aid for far too long. I’m proud to support people who are trying to better themselves and our communities.”
“We must do what we can to prevent colleges who are on a fiscal cliff from closing,” Harris said. “Many students in my district attend Chicago State. I want to help them and all public universities in our state.”
Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)
“Critical funding will keep college students on the path toward completing their degrees,” said Trotter, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations II Committee and co-sponsor of the legislation. “I hope the governor stands with us to make college affordable and keep the doors open for our higher institutions of learning.”
Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago)
“One of the worst things we can do for economic growth in the state of Illinois is to deprive our people of the opportunity to get an education, train for a better job or acquire the skills they need to go into business for themselves,” Collins said. “My Senate Democratic colleagues and I have consistently voted to meet our obligations and pay out the grants these students were promised, and we will not give up.”
Senate Bill 2043 includes $397 million for MAP grants, $260 million to keep community colleges open and nearly $50 million for career and technical education. Last May, the General Assembly sent the governor a budget that included these vital expenditures, but Gov. Rauner vetoed it, sending the state into a months-long budgetary impasse that has forced some of Illinois’ most effective social service providers to cut back or shut down, in addition to barring college students from their classes. In the fall, the Senate again voted to fund MAP grants, and then – as now – the governor threatened to veto the legislation.
“Gov. Rauner has a decision to make, and I urge and implore him to make the right one,” Collins said. “Will he continue to treat low-income students as collateral damage in the personal and ideological battle he has launched, or will he help these hardworking men and women improve their lives and make Illinois more competitive in the process?”
Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago)
“Our teens have suffered enough during the budget impasse. I’m proud we passed funding to help MAP grant recipients continue their schooling,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). “We should continue fighting to keep great institutions such as Chicago State University open as well.”
Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)
“This is a step in the right direction,” Jones said. “We have given schools like Chicago state some relief, but we need to pass a complete higher education funding package to ensure state schools can keep their doors open. Our vote today gave legislators an opportunity to lead by example and support our future leaders. “