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MAP Grants reduced for lack of funds

January 21, 2011

For decades the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has been helping thousands of students across Illinois with college tuition. The Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant has been part of financial aid awards for years. This year, however, the MAP Grant is being reduced and a new deadline is making it harder for students to receive any money from the grant.

The MAP Grant, offered annually for Illinois students, is associated with the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and is given to families based on annual income. The maximum amount of money the state gives each individual student is $4,986 per year. The government has a limited amount of funds, and to make sure as many students receive the MAP Grant in their financial aid packets as possible, the government sets a date by which the application for the grant must be sent in. In years, past the deadline has been set in the summer. In 2011, the deadline is April 18.

Along with an earlier deadline, students who qualify for the MAP Grant will also be seeing less money with their financial aid. The government decided that grants given for the fall 2010 semester would remain the same. Grants given for the spring 2011 semester would be reduced by 5 percent. MAP Grant awards also will be reduced based on the amount of credits a student is enrolled in per semester.

Jayne Schreck, the Director of Financial Aid for Monmouth College, advises students to file their FAFSAs early this year. For all students who are eligible for the MAP Grant, financial aid packages at Monmouth will be adjusted slightly to accommodate the change.

“This January, to correctly reflect the upcoming 5 percent reduction, we will be making two adjustments,” noted Schreck. The first adjustment is the reduction of 5 percent to each MAP Grant. “Secondly, we will adjust again when we can confirm the official number of registered credit hours for each student.”

This means the earlier a FAFSA is filed, the more likely an eligible student will receive the MAP Grant. Schreck also stated that the because of the MAP Grant reductions, no student should procrastinate when filing the FAFSA.

BY STEVIE CROISANT
Contributing Writer

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