Loyola Covers MAP Grants Amid Budget Impasse

Loyola has decided to cover the $10 million of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants owed to the university by Illinois.

These grants are awarded annually to Illinois residents who demonstrate financial need. However, the 10-month state budget impasse has left the program unfunded and about 2,400 Loyola students without their financial aid.

To cover the costs, Loyola plans to cut $10 million from the rest of the operating budget for the 2016 budget, according to Interim President John Pelissero. He said the cuts have resulted in fewer new hires, a decrease in travel expenses for Loyola employees, less discretionary spending and a cut back on money spent on catering at events such as the Weekend of Excellence.
While Pelissero said Loyola never intended to ask the students to pay back the money owed by MAP grants, he said continuing to honor the grants is not a realistic model if the program does not receive funding.

The lack of state funding hits Arrupe, Loyola’s community college at the Water Tower Campus, even harder. Almost all students who attend the school rely on MAP and Pell grants to pay for their tuition. Out of the $10 million owed to Loyola, about $350,000 of it is for Arrupe students.

Without MAP grants, Pelissero said Arrupe is not a sustainable model.

Loyola is not the only school faced with funding decisions. DePaul University announced in February in an email from university President the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., that it would honor the MAP grants through the end of the spring 2016 semester. It later announced on April 17 that it would continue to honor funding through the 2016-17 academic year if the budget stalemate continues.

However, the Illinois Institute of Technology is making its students pay back the money. IIT Vice President for Enrollment Michael R. Gosz made the announcement in a letter to students in March, stating the “credit will be removed from your account effective as of March 23, 2016, which will automatically trigger our system to place a registration hold on your account.”

To help compensate for the additional cost to students, the school plans to offer MAP Grant Replacement Loans, which allow students to pay back the funds without interest over one year, Gosz stated in the letter.

There’s still a chance the state could fund MAP grants for the 2015-16 academic year, but it depends on if Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats of the General Assembly come to an agreement on the state budget.

Loyola is actively campaigning for a compromise in the state house and plans to send a bus of students to advocate for a MAP budget in Springfield on April 20. Loyola continues to encourage students to sign a petition and contact their state representatives to let them know the importance of MAP grants.

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