New bill would increase access to MAP funds
Students residing in Illinois illegally would be eligible to receive taxpayer funded grants under a bill proposed by a trio of Democratic House members.
Sponsored by state representatives Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and Carol Ammons (D-Urbana), House Bill 2691, also known as the Retention of Illinois Students Act, paves the way for those students to apply for Monetary Award Program (MAP) funds. In addition to adding to the list of those eligible for the funds, the bill would also waive the 75-credit-hour limit that requires students to be juniors to get more MAP money after having already received funding for 75 credit hours.
Also under the bill, transgender students currently not eligible for such funding based on a law requiring all males 18 and older to register with the military, could receive such funding. The bill easily passed through the House by a 66-47 vote in April and now sits in the Senate’s Higher Education Committee.
Early forecasts by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission estimate the changes could attract somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 more students seeking MAP grants at an additional cost of around $9 million. HB 2691 had at least 31-co-sponsors in the House and now counts a minimum of 12 in the Senate.