By Adam Schalke
This semester has so far been a rather uneasy one for many students at Roosevelt University. This entire academic year is operating against a backdrop of financial uncertainty for students who depend on MAP grants to help fund their college education.
MAP Grants are sums of money issued by the state of Illinois to students whose family incomes would otherwise prohibit them from going to college. The funding for these grants has been frozen amidst a statewide budget impasse in Springfield between Governor Rauner and the General Assembly.
University president Malekzadeh mentioned in his State of the University speech that while Roosevelt has been able to fund these grants for the past two semesters, the costs they impose on an already fragile budget means that the university will no longer be able to fund MAP grants after this current semester.
Adding to the anxieties of students is the recent tuition hike that went into effect earlier in the semester.
“This is very frustrating to deal with,” said Laura Melamed, a junior tourism and hospitality management major. “College is already very expensive as is, and it frustrates me that I have to pay even more for it.”
The Student Government Association of Roosevelt University is hard at work trying to deal with students’ needs regarding the university’s various financial issues.
When asked about what the organization is planning to do about the MAP Grant situation, SGA president Phil Crawford answered that he and the senators will communicate directly with state officials.
“We will be providing legislators with personalized cards of people who have been impacted by a lack of MAP Grants,” he explained. “It puts a face not only to a name but to a major, that person’s aspirations, giving some depth to the people who receive the grant.”
Crawford also said that there will be calls made to the governor’s office as well as the offices are various state legislators, and stated that there are plans for a student lobbying day to go down to Springfield and talk to the state’s officials face to face.
When asked about SGA’s response to the tuition hike, President Crawford was able to give a very collected response on behalf of the organization.
“The tuition increase is an issue that both benefits and drawbacks. President Malekzadeh has plans for the university, we get that, but there are students financially stretched as it is to pay the current tuition rate,” he said. “I will say it is of note that students were told beforehand that tuition is increasing. In previous years we learned an increase in tuition happened when we went to pay our bill.”