Budget request might boost financial awards

By Brian Slupski

Student financial aid could receive a much-needed boost if a large budget request is approved.

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission has requested $321.4 million for FY 1994, an increase of 41.3 percent over 1993 appropriations.

The request includes $285.4 million to fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP), an increase of $83.4 million.

Bob Clements, director of public information for ISAC said the requests are needed sorely.

Clements said even with the increased funding the MAP awards still will be cut second semester. The only question is how large the cuts will be that effect students.

Clements said ISAC approves MAP grants for students. The students, however, are not awarded the grants until they enroll. If the student does not to go to an Illinois

university, the money the student was awarded is returned to the financial aid pool.

Clements said the cut partially will depend on the amount of money which is freed up.

For MAP, an increase of $83.4 million was requested. About $14 million, however, proportionately will offset increases in tuition, fee and room and board increases.

A total of $40 million is requested to cover an increase in eligible students applying for the awards.

Another $15.3 million resulted from changes in the federal needs analysis formula on which the MAP is based.

Finally, $11.5 million will increase the maximum MAP award from $3,500 to $3,800.

Clements said the requested increase only will benefit students and will help the ISAC with enormous increases in applications for financial aid.

He said this past year ISAC had to stop processing applications on June 20 because it ran out of money. He said eventually all applications which had been received before the October filing deadline were processed.

“We don’t want to be in the same position we were last year, that’s one reason for the requested increase,” Clements said.

He said ISAC ran out of money because of a huge increase in the number of applicants. When the processing stopped in June, ISAC had a double-digit percentage increase in the number of applicants.

He said the large application increases are the result of the poor condition of the economy. He said in tough economic times people go back to school, or choose to stay in school longer.