At the heart of competitiveness is opportunity. When Illinois provides qualified, motivated students with genuine opportunities, our entire state reaps the benefits.

The Monetary Award Program (MAP) offers financial assistance to low-income students admitted to Illinois colleges and universities. MAP funding has been taken hostage in the budget impasse; Governor Rauner vetoed it in the budget the General Assembly passed last May and last month rejected a stand-alone measure designed to provide emergency relief for colleges and universities unable to continue educating MAP grant recipients without the state monies they have been promised.

It is infuriatingly unnecessary that without higher education funding and financial assistance, in order to improve their prospects and make the most of their talents, many of our state’s young people now find they must leave Illinois – if they have the resources to do so. Too many do not. They live with the disappointment of a dream deferred, and meanwhile, our economic vitality, our quest for equality and our struggle for stronger communities wither on the vine.

The House and Senate have repeatedly voted to release funds for MAP grants so that qualified, low-income students can continue to receive a college education. Yet the governor has ignored the pleas of countless students who want nothing more than to better themselves and our state. He has vetoed this legislation, jeopardizing not only the prospects of MAP grant recipients, but the continued survival of one of Illinois’ greatest assets – its public institutions of higher learning. Already, more than a thousand MAP grant recipients have been forced to stop going to class. They simply cannot afford to foot the bill while the state fails them.

I was proud to vote with my colleagues this morning to override the governor’s irresponsible veto, which has the effect of consigning to poverty and underemployment a generation of young people who hold the future of Illinois in their hands. Sadly, the override effort fell just two votes short in the House this afternoon. My colleagues and I are not giving up; as I continue to fight for fair funding for mental health and addiction services, at-risk youth programing, women's health, homeless prevention and more, I will also keep at the forefront the state's obligation to keep its promises to students striving for an education and a better life.

Category: Frontpage

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Chicago Office:
1155 W. 79th St.
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 224-2830

Springfield Office:
M114 Capitol
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-1607

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