Ill. lawmakers restore scholarship funds

October 16, 2009 4:37:56 AM PDT
Illinois lawmakers restored scholarships Thursday for about 137,000 college students who get money through the Monetary Award Program. But where will the state find the funding for those scholarships next semester?The program helps thousands of families send students to school.

For many families struggling financially, the state scholarship makes a difference.

On Thursday, students fought for the financial aid and took their concerns to legislators. Their fight started early Thursday morning.

Early Thursday morning, student started boarding buses. It was no commute. They were taking a trip with a purpose.

Students from Loyola voiced their support for the MAP grant in Springfield. MAP is short for state scholarships called the Monetary Award Program.

In Lincoln Park, more than 300 students also headed to Springfield. They warmed up a few chants before the buses rolled out.

"It's been a big help throughout these four years in college, almost four years since I'll be graduating this year. And without it, I don't think I'd be able to be here right now," said Elena Suarez, DePaul student.

Some students going to support the MAP grants aren't even MAP recipients.

Benjamin Levy says map helped him and he wants to make sure it helps others.

"I'm a perfect example. Just because I need it in undergrad doesn't mean that I need it later. It's just a great way to start becasue some people need a little leg up," said Levy.

Once in Springfield, local students were joined with students across the state to rally for MAP grants. They targeted their message to lawmakers voting today on funding for MAP.

"There has to be a way to pay for it. Legislators must pass a reliable revenue source to fund for education," said Christie Kieley, University of Illinois student.

"The politicians across the street, we need some responsibility. We need people to understand there's nothing more important than our education," said another student.

The attention appears to have paid off. Late Thursday legislators approved $205 million for MAP. Governor Quinn announced the good news to the cheering coeds.

"I am happy to say that the House of Representatives already today passed the appropriation for MAP. It's on to the Senate and it is on to making sure we have full funding for map this year and every year to come," said Quinn.

The governor's challenge is now to find out where the funding source comes from in the state's already cash strapped budget. For now, students and families are very relieved they can continue with their education.


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