MAP grants

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission reports a drop in submitted financial aid applications compared to 2015, but also says it may be too soon to tell.

That’s because the FAFSA filing period for next school year opened early on Oct. 1, rather than January.

Those who apply will use their 2015 tax information and will not need to update it with their 2016 taxes.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Chants broke out several times during a rally at the MLK Commons of Northern Illinois University's campus.

Illinois college students and DeKalb community members gathered Thursday to press lawmakers to make sure MAP grants are fully funded.

Students raised signs with messages like “End our dread – fund Higher Ed.”

Different speakers shared their experiences and urged people to reach out to their local lawmakers.

Students from Governors State University traveled to NIU to join the conversation. 

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Oct 10, 2016
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Illinois hasn't set aside any money to pay for the Monetary Award Program grants that help lower-income students go to college, but students still should hurry to fill out financial aid forms. 

That’s because some financial aid is awarded on more than just the basis of need.

Lynne Baker, with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, says students need to submit the Free Application For Federal Student Aid – known as FAFSA -- to qualify for state programs too. That form can be completed online.

Illinois Democrats have approved a measure to fully fund tuition grants for low-income students despite Republican concerns the state can't pay for its promises.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday on a 39-15 vote. The bill goes to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner next.

The measure sponsored by Democratic leaders House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton would appropriate about $397 million to colleges and universities for tuition grants under the Monetary Assistance Program.

The plan doesn't include funding for colleges' operational costs.

Students living illegally in the U.S. who struggle to pay for college because they don't qualify for financial aid are urging Illinois lawmakers to make them eligible for state help.

    

Legislation that passed the state Senate this month with bipartisan support would make Illinois among the few states in the country that let immigrant students get financial aid regardless of their legal status.

The measure is awaiting action in the Illinois House.

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