Rauner vetoes MAP Grant bill as promised

Analicia Haynes, Administration Editor

Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill Friday that would have funded the Monetary Award Program Grants.

Senate Bill 2043 was sent to Rauner last Tuesday, and despite the requests from several Democratic lawmakers at a press conference held before the bill was sent, Rauner still vowed to veto it.

The bill would have appropriated $721 million for MAP Grants and community college programs.

The MAP Grant provides up to $5,000 worth of financial aid to students who demonstrate need, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission website.

The grants do not have to be repaid. For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, a total of 128,399 students across Illinois received MAP Grants, and 43,167 students are from public four-year universities, according to the 2015 ISAC data book.

2,416 students from Eastern received MAP grants for FY14-15, according to the data book.

It has been eight months since higher learning institutions received state appropriations, and though the bill would not have funded public universities, Democrats said it would relieve some pressure, according to an article in The Chicago Tribune.

According to Rauner’s veto message, he called the bill unconstitutional and vetoed it because it would go over the state’s budget deficit, worsen the state’s cash flow crisis, and place more stress on social service providers and vulnerable residents who already suffer from the deficit spending.

Rauner said the bill would spend money the state does not have, and he put the blame on the General Assembly for not being able to put forth a plan composed of cost-savings reforms such as the ones he proposed in his turnaround agenda.

In his message, Rauner introduced three separate bills that he said would offer a better and constitutional plan to fund higher education.

House Bill 4539 and Senate Bill 2349 would appropriate $1.6 billion for higher education programs, and Senate Bill 2789 would give the governor, comptroller and treasurer the authorization to reallocate funds and reduce spending in other areas.

President David Glassman said he is disappointed that the bill was vetoed.

“All universities and community colleges that have honored MAP Grants for our students should be entitled to receive reimbursement from the state,” Glassman said.

Glassman said he believes there will be a bill passed to support funding for the grants and higher education, and lawmakers are working on developing new bills that will enact funding for higher education and MAP awards.

According to Capitol Fax, Senate President John Cullerton said he was disappointed in Rauner because he had a chance to back up his promises with funding he mentioned in his speech last Wednesday.

Cullerton said Rauner let down students again, and he does not understand how Rauner can propose funding student financial aid then turn around and veto it.

Glassman said he believes the MAP Grants will continue for the next school year, and he has every expectation that there will be no interruption of Eastern’s educational opportunities this summer, next fall and for many decades to come.

 

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]