Students give their thoughts to MAP deadline

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) suspended announcements of 2015-16 MAP Grants for applicants whose initial FAFSA is received by the Central Processing System on or after Sunday, according to the ISAC website.

This year’s initial suspense date is the earliest in the program’s history, partially because of earlier FAFSA filing by prospective students, according to the ISAC website.

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships sent students an email Friday alerting them that the deadline to receive MAP Grants by filing their FAFSA was Saturday.

FAFSA became available during winter break, and students were encouraged to file as early as possible.

The MAP Grant is given to students who are Illinois residents based on their financial need and information provided through FAFSA.

Since grant money tends to be depleted early, sometimes the deadline to file FAFSA to receive the money may be earlier than expected, according to the ISAC website.

Gov. Bruce Rauner requested flat funding for MAP in his introduced budget, though it is still unknown how similar the fiscal year 2016 budget will be to the governor’s proposal.

Carol Waldmann, the interim director of financial aid, could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Lookman Olowo, a freshman business major, said he was unaware of the email sent last Friday and that the deadline was the following day.

“That doesn’t sound like sufficient notice for students to check their emails and attain the documents for the FAFSA and apply for it,” Olowo said. “It does take a lot of tax filing information, they would have to talk to their parents to get that.”

Shamus Shields, a freshman nursing major, said he did manage to see the email on Friday.

“Being that it was only a day before, that’s not right,” Shields said. “If they gave you more time to check it out, check your emails and to give you more of a chance to apply, then that would have been right and fair.”

Brian Anzures, a freshman psychology and pre-medicine major, said what he knows about the grant is that only a certain amount of money can be awarded each year.

“The email that got sent was I think a little bit late,” Anzures said. “I think that it should have been an earlier notice to let everyone know that the MAP Grant deadline was about to come.”

Anzures said he was frustrated to learn ISAC had given the university such short notice to inform students of the new deadline.

“This MAP Grant is important to a lot of people. It’s money that you don’t have to pay back; it’s not a loan; it’s not a scholarship; it’s grant money that’s given to you,” he said.

Anzures also said the email notification did not give the students the opportunity to fill out the information.

“For the email to be sent out the day beforehand, I think is a little bit bogus,” Anzures said. “That’s not giving the opportunity to some people who are just getting their 1040 back, or their income tax back, or their parent’s income tax back.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].