MAP recipients affected by cut

By Matt Michalek

Students who receive financial aid through the Monetary Assistance Program are in for a surprise this semester. Due to state budget cuts, the MAP awards are being cut by 12 percent.

Bob Clement, director of public information at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said the cuts were made because of the state-wide higher education cuts made by the Illinois General Assembly.

“We were directed to cut a certain amount of money,” he said. “The reason the MAP awards were cut was because it is the largest grant program we have.”

Clement said the average amount of money each student will be cut is approximately $120.00. It varies according to the school and the amount of the individual award.

Barbera Henley, vice president for Student Affairs, said the cuts are devastating. “The cuts adversely affect the neediest students on campus,” she said.

NIU Financial Aid Director Jerry Augsburger said it will be up to the school to determine how they are going to handle the cuts.

NIU is currently conducting a study of the situation to determine the full impact the cuts will have on students, Henley said.

We need to know the full impact on students before we can decide exactly how to handle the cuts, she said.

NIU could either absorb the cuts themselves, or they can bill the student for additional dollars, depending on how they decide to handle the situation, Clement said.

“The fact of the matter is that the MAP reduction is a fact. How the reduction is handled on each campus is a decision made by the college,” said Augsburger.

The Monetary Assistance Program is a need based award. Each student who applies is evaluated with a MAP formula, and is assigned an individual award based on the calculation of individual need, said Augsburger.

The grant only covers required tuition and nonrefundable fees. The maximum possible award available at NIU is $1,194 per semester. The smallest possible award is $150 per semester and increase in increments of $75 per semester, he said.

Students who have already been assigned an award this semester will lose an across-the-board cut of 12 percent. For example, a student who was assigned the maximum award will have the award reduced by $143.28, he said.

ISAC has already determined that the cuts will be taken to the nearest cent, said Augsburger.

Augsburger said he does not know when NIU will decide how to handle the cuts.