Despite happy ending, danger lingers

Anytime students are in danger of losing financial support to fund their education is a bad time. Luckily, some of these bad times are behind us.

The Monetary Assistance Program grants are not being cut for the spring semester this year. These same grants were cut last spring because funds just weren’t available.

Students are counting on this money they were promised and if the promise is rescinded, then chances are students who depend on MAP grants will not be able to complete their education.

Last year, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) reduced the number of grants by 12 percent. However, students had already received the grants in the form of credit the university gave them towards their tuition bill. This meant that the students had to pay back part of the grant to the university to fully cover their tuition bill.

This all seems rather silly—how could students pay back money they never had or even saw? When grant money is awarded, and then pulled away in midstream, it is more like a punishment then an award.

If cuts could be made, then students should be well aware of this fact before accepting the loan or grant. If this is not made abundantly clear, then students will count on that money and might be forced to deal with unexpected expenses.

ISAC lucked out this year by having available funds. But what about next year? There is a very simple concept to follow when handing out awards for any financial aid program—expect the worst.