Low-income college students have a glimmer of hope now that Governor Bruce Rauner has included money for Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants, in his budget plan. But students already in school may not enjoy the benefit.
Rauner's proposal is for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins in July. But students currently in college are racking up 2017 bills.
In a senate committee this week, Sen. Pat McGuire, a Democrat from Joliet, tried to plead the students’ case to Rauner's budget chief Scott Harry.
"Students and their schools who were promised MAP grants -- 120,000 students in all -- have received no MAP grant funding for the recently-concluded fall semester nor for the current spring semester. So what is the administration's plan to fulfill its promise?" McGuire asked.
Harry responded that those bills can't be considered until a balanced budget gets passed.
"So if the balanced budget you mentioned is achieved in June, when do you anticipate that the fy 17 backfill for MAP would occur?” he asked.
But Harry stuck to his script.
"I will say that: The sooner that a grand bargain is reached, the better off the state of Illinois' finances will be,” Harry said.
The state of Illinois hasn't had a full budget since 2015, and Rauner's latest plan is unlikely to get a warm reception in the Democrat controlled legislature.