Democratic lawmakers led a group of college students to the office of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner yesterday. They asked him to fund tuition grants promised to low-income students.
State Senator Donne Trotter, from Chicago, led colleagues and students from the basement press room up to the governor's second-floor office to hand-deliver legislation that would fund MAP grants. The Monetary Award Program helps low-income students cover college tuition.
It was good theater, and Allen Miggins, an admissions counselor from MacMurray College making his first visit to the Statehouse, thought it might work.
Then he found out activists have held many similar rallies and news conferences on the same issue.
"That's what I just heard!” he said. “I heard this is something that happens over and over and you wouldn't think that an education fund would be stripped when there's more things they can strip from, in my opinion, you know what I'm saying? Why would you strip someone from their future, you know?"
Miggins said the ongoing budget impasse is making his job difficult -- on many levels.
"It's like we're promising them something that we're not even sure we have,” he said, “and that's what we asked earlier. It's like, 'Hey, how are we promising them something that you guys are not quite sure that we're actually going to get?' So it's just difficult, on a professional level, to say 'Hey, we have this.' But really do we have it? That's the question."