Welch bill aims to guarantee Need-Based Higher Education grants for four years

Welch bill aims to guarantee Need-Based Higher Education grants for four years
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Welch bill aims to guarantee Need-Based Higher Education grants for four years

To encourage more Illinois students to attend in-state colleges and universities, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, was the chief sponsor of legislation that stabilizes Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and makes it easier for students to receive the grant for all four years of college, instead of just one year.

“MAP grants are an incentive that keeps students in Illinois, which could help motivate them to stay here, build their career and even a family in Illinois,” said Welch.

“Many students and their families made the decision to attend school outside of Illinois due to the chaos and uncertainty caused by Gov. Rauner’s three-year budget impasse. The unreliable funding of need-based financial aid such as the MAP grants only solidified many families’ decisions. I want to see Illinois’ higher education system more robust and attractive to the needs and desires of all students. Our recent balanced, bipartisan budget plan and the ongoing efforts of the bipartisan Higher Education Working Group are good first steps toward accomplishing this and ensuring that Illinois’ world-class institutions remain competitive.”

State Rep. Chris Welch

State Rep. Chris Welch

Need-based MAP grants are available to Illinois students attending in-state community colleges or universities. These grants were often not funded during the Rauner-led budget impasse, forcing universities to eat the cost or forcing many students to take fewer credits, drop out of school or transfer to more affordable institutions out of state. Welch recently supported a bipartisan budget that funds MAP grants and restores some state funding for state colleges and universities. Welch’s House Bill 5020 will give MAP grant recipients priority on the following year’s awards effectively creating a 4-year MAP grant program. MAP grant recipients are not currently guaranteed the award from year to year.

“While the budget funded MAP grants with more than $400 million, we still need to seek a viable long-term solution that stabilizes MAP grants years in advance,” said Welch. “As chair of the House Higher Education committee, I’m fully aware of the absolute necessity of to fund this program, and it is my hope that we learn from other states who plan ahead and provide stability for their students and colleges.”

For more information, please visit Rep. Welch’s new website www.emanuelchriswelch.com to stay informed and up to date with monthly events.

Ray Hanania

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