By Alyson Jurgovan
President Malekzadeh has directly reached out to students urging them to advocate for the Monetary Award Program grant.
“I am asking for your help in keeping this issue top of mind, and providing a greater sense of urgency to resolve the issue,” Malekzadeh says via email.
More than halfway through the year, the State of Illinois has yet to come to an annual budget. For some, this may not seem like much of a crisis, however for the 1,055 students who were awarded the MAP Grant for the 2015/2016 academic year, it is just that.
Justin Provo, Political Affairs Committee Chairperson and Illinois Board of Higher Education Representative, has been reaching out to students on the issue since the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. He has since used that momentum, along with help from Jennifer Tani, Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement and President Malekzadeh to create an official message advocating to students on a mass scale.
“Students need to get involved in this issue. One thing we’re stressing to students is they need to contact their representatives,” Provo says.
MAP Grant awards can potentially amount to upwards of $4,000. That is an enormous loss for any student that relies on those funds to help them meet tuition needs. The university has graciously been covering the funding for MAP while we await a budget plan.
“We are lucky this year, in that President Ali has agreed to essentially front this semester’s worth of grants. He has made it possible that they are going to take the hit this year. If there is no action taken before this fall, who knows if there will be MAP grants for the next few years to come,” Provo said.
It is imperative for students to take initiative and contact district representatives and even Governor Rauner to advocate for MAP funding. A mere phone call to the district office and/or email to Governor Rauner would make the voices of students heard.
“It doesn’t seem like a crisis because the funds are being covered. We’re trying to encourage the students to reach out so it doesn’t look like the university only wants those funds reimbursed,” Tani said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to protect students until the state figures it out.”
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