MAP restored, future still uncertain

By Lauren Kelly

Due to tireless efforts of college students throughout Illinois, state legislators have reinstated the Monetary Award Program grant funding for spring 2010. The dedication of Columbia’s Student Government Association and other student governments in Illinois to restore the funds is commendable and deserves recognition.

Anyone who took action and made their voice heard in Springfield is directly responsible for the triumph at the state capitol, which proves that college students can be a powerful force and realize their goals on a large scale. The strong response from students and administrators in colleges throughout the state proves the power of democracy.

If the MAP funding had not been reinstated, more than 130,000 students in Illinois would have felt the impact of the $2.1 billion cut and been forced to find funding for college elsewhere. Some may have had no choice but to drop out of school and discontinue their college education.

By putting money toward higher education, the state is investing in its future. More college graduates go on to be effective citizens who earn higher annual salaries than non-degree holders.

Although the reinstatement of MAP grants for spring 2010 is a major victory for college students, the program’s funding in the future is still uncertain. State legislators have not committed to funding the grants for fall 2010 and beyond. There is a strong possibility that funding will be cut completely in the future.

As demonstrated by the huge response to the spring grants being cut, there is no doubt students will respond in the same manner if the program is in jeopardy next year. MAP funding should not have been cut in the first place, and if legislators try to limit awards in the future, it will see the same response.

The overwhelming actions of the Illinois college community proved that students and administrators are paying attention to what goes on in the General Assembly and will not let funding cuts for college awards go unnoticed.

Students and administrators across Illinois need to make sure MAP grants continue to be funded in the future by being vocal and staying united.