By Illinois Public Radio/KWMU
Springfield, ILL. – More Illinois college students are expected to get MAP (Monetary Assistance Program) grants this year, but some will see smaller amounts than before. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which doles out the grants, agreed Monday to lower the maximum size of a financial aid award by about $250.
ISAC spokeswoman Lori Reimers says that will allow another 8,000 students to get money for college. She says if the change hadn't been made, grant money would have run out by the end of July.
"If we did have to cut off processing applications in July, a whole group of students would have gotten cut out of the process simply because they applied later in the year," Reimers said.
Reimers says in many cases, low income students and adults returning to school are often uncertain about enrolling and they wait longer before applying for aid.
MAP Grants are funded by the state of Illinois; they're a state version of the federal PELL grants, which award money (that need not be repaid) to students seeking financial aid for college.
Illinois students can only get MAP money for four years of undergraduate schooling, but Illinois lawmakers this year voted to restore MAP eligibility for a fifth year. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has yet to act on that proposal.