Funding for higher education/MAP grants signed

On April 25, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an appropriations bill providing funding for higher education and MAP grants. The bipartisan solution ensures that universities, colleges, and community colleges remain open through September, at which point they’ll start collecting their fall tuition money.

Gov. Rauner said this legislation doesn’t solve the budget crisis, but is a good step toward compromise between Democrat and Republican lawmakers. He noted it’s “time to build on the bipartisan momentum” and focus on passing a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017.

Comptroller Leslie Munger said her office would immediately start processing MAP grants and payments for the universities, colleges and for college student grants funded by the legislation.

The money provided in Senate Bill 2059 will come from the Education Assistance Fund. The state’s universities will split $356 million, community colleges will divide $74 million, and $169 million will go to students who had been waiting to receive MAP grants they were awarded to help them pay for school.

As the 11th month without a budget approaches, many social service programs are awaiting funding relief. Recently, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation that appropriates $441 million from the Commitment to Human Services Fund to help pay for critical human service programs. Senate Bill 2047 is currently pending in the House of Representatives.

Lawmakers return to the Capitol on May 3 to resume legislative action.

Chapin Rose

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