04252018CM0183SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett’s (D-Champaign) plan to expand access to grants for low-income students and help attract more students to universities in Illinois was signed into law today.

Bennett sponsored House Bill 5020 to prioritize students currently receiving funds from Monetary Assistance Program, or MAP grants, to continue their college education

Under the new law, returning MAP grant recipients can be the first in line, rather than endure the current “first-come, first served” process for continued funding, assuming they file their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time and continue qualifying for aid. Previously, students were not guaranteed MAP grant money each year, despite being eligible and applying on time.

“After years of uncertainty created by Governor Rauner’s budget impasse, I am glad that we are now able to give students and their families assurance that a MAP grant won’t be one and done,” Bennett said. “Other schools outside of Illinois can guarantee four-year MAP grants, and we needed to offer that same predictability and affordability to parents and students in our state in order to remain competitive.”

Bennett served on a bipartisan higher education working group which proposed the MAP grant reform, among a number of measures to strengthen higher education.

“I’ve always believed that if we care about the future of our state, we must invest in its next generation and protect our universities and colleges,” Bennett said. “This new law is a step in the right direction to reverse the decline in Illinois higher education and help keep the best and the brightest in our state.”

The governor signed the law today, and it takes effect immediately.

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