SPRINGFIELD- Illinois students work hard to attend our state’s public universities and community colleges. Many students like Trisha Rodriquez, a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from Belvidere, worked 30 hours a week at Kmart throughout high school saving up to pay for tuition.

As students begin to wrap up finals and head back home for winter break, students like Rodriquez aren’t sure what the future of their college education will look like without need-based state financial aid.

“MAP grant funding is crucial in ensuring more first-generation Illinois students have the same opportunities I have to obtain a higher education,” said Rodriquez. “Lawmakers need to reach a compromise because without a compromise, students like me and my friends don’t know if they have enough money to go back to the schools we love next semester.”

The Senate did pass Senate Bill 2043, funding for the state’s financial student assistance program, the Monetary Award Program (MAP). However, the House has yet to approve the funding. Without crucial funding, students will be forced to take out more expensive loans.  

120715CM0773RT“Students like Trisha are the future leaders of our state. Without MAP grant funding some students will be forced to turn to more expensive loans and end up graduating with mountains of debt,” said Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). “It’s heartbreaking to hear students’ struggles as they work toward meeting their tuition costs. We need to put a budget in place to guarantee students have the services and support they need to be successful.”

In the spirit of compromise, the senate approved legislation today that would free up gas tax money for local municipalities. Stadelman hopes the general assembly and governor will continue to work together to put a responsible budget in place.

“It is time to stop playing political games with the futures of Illinois students. The legislative leaders and governor need to come together to craft a solution to provide security for students like Trisha, who have already taken on thousands of dollars of debt to better themselves through education,” Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) said.

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