Senate Black Caucus votes to keep MAP program

Every year, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission helps more than 130,000 students throughout Illinois advance their career dreams by helping them pay for college. The Monetary Award Program (MAP) is designed to help eligible students who may not have enough money to pay for higher education go to college.

 

Today, the Senate Black Caucus unanimously voted in favor of providing these scholarships to ensure would continue their education:

 

Below are comments from members:

 

Senate Black Caucus Chairman, Senator Emil Jones III (D-Chicago)

 

“The MAP grant is designed for students who are in financial need but are working toward a brighter, financially stable future,” said Senator Emil Jones III, Chairman of the Senate Black Caucus. “Today, we voted to ensure we are giving students the opportunity to receive an education that will lead to a good paying job by funding this program. We always say we want to prepare Illinois students for the workforce. The Senate Black Caucus showed its constituents what its priorities are – making college affordable for students who want a hand up and not a hand out is how we will grow our state out of fiscal uncertainty.”

 

Joint House and Senate Black Caucus Chairwoman Kimberly A. Lightford

 

“We all say we take pride in education and that academics are a priority – myself included,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood). “I just voted to put our state’s dollars where my values have always been, and I will continue to fight for the issues that we all know are most important for our future. Now, let’s pass a fair budget and keep our students funded for years to come.”

“It’s time to return to learning.” said Lightford. “For many college students, they have had their education stifled by politics and unwilling leadership. We have now overpowered the governor’s lack of leadership and given financially vulnerable Illinois students the help they need.

 

Senate Appropriation’s Chair, Senator Donne Trotter (D-Chicago)

“I stood outside the governor’s office in January with students. We personally hand-delivered this funding bill to him and watched him strike down our efforts with his veto. He may be interested in soundbites, but I’m interested in keeping the students in my district and across this state in school.”

 

Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Chicago)

“I refuse to give up on students. Education takes young people out of poverty and allows them to become strong contributors to our economy. Chicago State is a priority for many people in my district, but the lack of funding is hurting families across the state.

There are still students waiting for money promised to them almost a year ago. That’s unacceptable. The governor’s administration made these promises and they need to deliver. Together we must stand up and fight back. I urge my colleagues in the House to override the governor’s veto as well. The future of our youth is depending on it.”

 

Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago)

 

At the heart of competitiveness is opportunity. When Illinois provides qualified, motivated students with genuine opportunities, our entire state reaps the benefits. 

 

It is infuriatingly unnecessary that in order to improve their prospects and make the most of their talents, many of our state’s young people find they must leave Illinois – if they have the resources to do so. Too many do not. They live with the disappointment of a dream deferred, and meanwhile, our economic vitality, our quest for equality and our struggle for stronger communities wither on the vine.

 

The House and Senate have repeatedly voted to release funds for MAP grants so that qualified, low-income students can continue to receive a college education. Yet the governor has ignored the pleas of countless students who want nothing more than to better themselves and our state. He has vetoed this legislation, jeopardizing not only the prospects of MAP grant recipients, but the continued survival of one of Illinois’ greatest assets – its public institutions of higher learning. Already, more than a thousand MAP grant recipients have been forced to stop going to class. They simply cannot afford to foot the bill while the state fails them.

 

I was proud to vote with my colleagues today to override the governor’s irresponsible veto, which has the effect of consigning to poverty and underemployment a generation of young people who hold the future of Illinois in their hands. I urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead as soon as possible.

 

Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago)

 

“I can’t see how we can say that we support moving the state forward and ignore something as important as the MAP grants. These grants help people to get their lives back together…. vote yes.”

 

Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields)

 

“Throughout this entire budget impasse, innocent bystanders have been on the front lines, bearing the brunt of cuts and delays in state funding. MAP recipients, through no fault of their own, have been among the hardest hit. As a former MAP and Pell grant recipient, I know just how hard it can be to cobble together enough resources to get through a semester. I would not be who I am today or where I am today without these grants.

 

“I urge my House colleagues to make our students a priority and support MAP funding. We have no future in Illinois if we do not invest in education.”

 

 

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