MAP conditions limit graduate opportunities


MAP conditions limit graduate opportunities

By Angela Pagan

Requiring students to pay back Monetary Award Program grants after they leave Illinois will create a financial burden and limit outside job opportunities for recent college graduates.

MAP grants are need-based grants funded by Illinois. Undergraduate students are eligible to receive the grant if they complete a FASFA and if they and their parents are Illinois residents. The amount each student receives ranges from $300 to $4,720.

A bill proposed on Feb. 20 would require students who receive Illinois MAP grants to pay back their grants if they leave the state within five years of graduation. The bill would also require recipients to graduate within four years of receiving their initial grant. Recipients would have 10 years to pay back their grants at an interest rate of 5 percent and collection fees should they violate the bill’s requirements.

This reform of the grant program is being sponsored by Senator Chapin Rose, R-Champaign. If passed, this proposal in a sense traps students in Illinois in what seems like a greedy political maneuver to raise tax revenue. The bill could keep graduates who are presented with job opportunities in other states from pursuing these options.

Anthony Walker, freshman pre-physical therapy major and a recipient of a MAP grant, said the award helps when it comes to paying for college because it takes care of about $5,000 of his tuition.

“After college, I don’t want to be restricted of where I can and can’t go,” Walker said.

Artemus Ward, political science associate professor, said the proposal shows a larger problem with education in the state: Illinois doesn’t value education.

On the one hand, MAP can be viewed as Illinois investing in students. If students leave the state, so does the investment. Therefore, it would make sense to ask for the money back; but, grants and other tuition breaks are given to students as a way to promote their success — not limit it.