Yesterday, Governor Rauner released his Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Erin Steva, Midwest Director of Young Invincibles, released the statement below in response:
“We applaud the recommendation to increase Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funding by 10 percent. Funding shortages have forced 160,000 eligible students to go without aid each year, and expanding MAP grant funding will provide critical relief to Illinois’ highest need students.
This is a critical down payment, yet much more is needed to support students from low-income families and to reverse the rapid disinvestment that has left Illinois’ higher education system starving for resources. MAP grants covered 100 percent of tuition and fees in 2002, but now only fund 46 percent of costs at four-year community colleges and 32 percent of costs at public universities.
Ultimately supporting low-income students will require a deeper investment in our higher education system as a whole. This year’s budget would cut higher education funding by over $270 million relative to FY15, additional cuts that will devastate our already resource-starved institutions. Over a decade of state disinvestment has caused tuition increases, faculty layoffs, and students to leave for out-of-state schooling. Illinois must make higher education a priority and back that commitment with meaningful investment that restores funding for the current fiscal year and brings higher education funding to pre-recession levels for FY18.”