By Staff Writer
Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to address their legislators to stress their personal need for access to affordable higher education institutions that are made possible through programs like MAP. The state funded grant to public and private colleges has seen as a point of contention between educators and lawmakers due to legislative gridlock in the state capitol.
“I think it’s a really great way to show that this is personal,” said Roosevelt SGA President Nathan Stoll. “When you see a handwritten letter that someone took a moment of their life to put into reality, and then send out, it’s impactful.”
MAP grants often affect the neediest students the most as much of the grant will cover books and tuition, however, the first-come, first-serve nature of the program has a tendency to leave students without a higher education.
Abril De La Paz, a 26 year-old biochemistry major, participated in the previous years campaign, and was encouraged to do so again.
“Some of my classmates really need the funding, said De La Paz. “They’re hurting really bad right now. Some of them can’t get their books, and a few people can’t even go to school. I’m really lucky to have it, so I’m going to write again.”
The campaign comes as lawmakers in Springfield continue to debate over a mountain of unpaid bills totalling around $11 billion. The majority of state services have continued to function, though largely by through a tangled web of laws, court orders, and spending agreements with varying interest rates. Illinois currently operates on the framework of its last completed budget from 2014, but without the tax increase instituted in 2011.
“I see that students are struggling everyday,” said Assistant Director of CSI Chris Littrell. “We have students come in saying, ‘I can’t afford to pay tuition,’ or, ‘I can’t buy books,’ and it’s difficult to know that there’s money that has been promised to them at one point, that has existed. It’s just not being given to the universities.”
On February 8, SGA and the Office of Government Relations will with students to Springfield to rally ahead of Governor Rauner’s State of the State address where they will be joined by students from multiple universities in calling for greater access to funding for colleges and universities. Students interested should contact SGA, or CSI.