Spring MAP grants escape cuts

By Rob Heselbarth

NIU students who received Monetary Assistance Program grants this semester will not have their grants cut as they were in spring 1992.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) has decided it will not have to cut this semester’s MAP grants.

Bob Clement, ISAC director of public information, said there were enough funds this year so ISAC would not have to cut back the amount of money granted to students this semester.

Jerry Augsburger, NIU financial aid director, said he was pleased there were no MAP grant reductions this semester.

“We would prefer that the cuts never happen,” Augsburger said. “We never like to see any reductions.

He said the process of awarding the grants starts when the state universities give credit to students for their tuition bills.

“Once the universities award the credit, they bill the state for the money,” he said. “The students then receive the credit from ISAC.”

He said in spring 1992 there were more awards accepted than there was money to cover them, so an ISAC reduction of 12 percent of the original grants was made and NIU could not eat the loss.

Students then had to pay back part of their MAP grants, he said.

He added this reduction was one of only three or four cuts in the last 12 years.

However, in August 1992, ISAC refunded about $3 million to Illinois university students who were affected by the 12 percent cut.

Clement said the money came from university audits which forced schools to refund money to ISAC and from students who were granted MAP awards and then either changed schools or dropped out.

He said the state universities had three options to refund the money to students.

Universities could have refunded a flat percentage, a flat dollar amount or could have ranked students in order of neediest to least needy students, in terms of monetary need.

Augsburger said NIU chose to rank the students in order of need, so the students who received a refund were the students who received the full MAP grant.

Clement said it is impossible to predict cuts because it is never known how much money will be available to the ISAC for awarding of MAP grants.