Early MAP grant suspension affects ‘neediest students’


Northern Star File Photo – Senior communications major Jasmine Harvell assists freshman English major Alexander Ruiz at the financial aid office in January.

By Perri Killam

The early suspension of Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants is now an issue facing students in need.

Due to the large number of FAFSA applicants and restricted available funding, the suspension date for the 2012-2013 school year was March 14. This means that in order to be considered for the grant this year, students’ FAFSA applications must have been received by March 13.

The State of Illinois MAP Grant is a state-funded grant awarded by the Illinois Student Aid Commission (ISAC) for Illinois students who demonstrate financial aid. The FAFSA serves as an application for this grant. The maximum awarded amount for the MAP was also reduced from $4,968 in 2011-2012 to $4,720 for 2012-2013, according to an NIUToday article.

According to Jane Jordan, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid, over 6,100 NIU students received the MAP Grant in fall 2011.

“Such an early suspension date is hard on our neediest students who so need the financial assistance this grant offers,” Jordan said.

If need be, students can estimate the requested tax information and later update it in order to get the application in sooner.

Junior psychology major Brittany Torres said this kind of information would have been useful earlier in the year, and that knowing more about this suspension or other financial aid issues would motivate students to be more active in filling out their FAFSAs.

“I know I missed the priority deadline, but if I had known about that I would have pushed to get it done faster,” she said.

However, there is still time for students to fill out and submit their FAFSAs.

“We would still like to encourage students to complete their 2012-2013 FAFSA in case the state would receive additional allocation and ISAC would extend this date in the future,” Jordan said.

Ultimately, Jordan thinks the sooner students fill out their financial aid forms, the better. Application processes and financial aid offers are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Because of issues like this suspension, students who applied early are now more likely to receive helpful aid such as the MAP Grant.