NIU credits fall MAP grants


Freshman business administration major Christopher Harris loads his belongings on to a cart while moving into Stevenson Hall on Friday. More than 5,000 students have been credited for MAP grant funding, despite a budget impasse.

By Keith Hernandez

More than 5,000 NIU students who qualify for Monetary Assistance Program funding have been credited an estimate of what they would have received had an Illinois budget been approved at the start of the semester.

NIU has joined other Illinois universities, including SIU, in continuing to fund MAP grant recipients without a state budget in sight. NIU students who qualify for MAP are granted more than $20 million a year, said Rebecca Babel, Student Financial Aid director.

“We believe there is strong support for that funding,” Babel said, referring to SB-2043, which would provide $373 million for MAP grant recipients, a bill that was approved by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday. The bill awaits a House vote.

“We are not anticipating there will not be MAP funding,” Babel said. “We will do anything we can to keep our students from being locked in the middle.”

Little is known about what NIU will do in the spring, should the budget remain in a stalemate between the Democrat-majority General Assembly and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Babel said.

“We haven’t been able to discuss what we would do if there hasn’t been a budget for spring,” Babel said.

When the state budget is finalized, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will recalculate MAP funding for each student, resulting in possible reductions in awards, according to an email from the Student Financial Aid Office to students.

For students who may be affected by the outcome of the Illinois budget impasse, Babel said the most important thing to do is to “be informed, understand what this means, and watch the process and if we get further in this process. … Students need to contact their government officials.

“I think the General Assembly has a very tough decision to make, and they need to hear from their constituents about what they think their priorities are.”

Go to or call a representative at 815-753-1395 for more information about MAP.