On Aug. 26, Rauner officially signed the measure, which will offer up to $25 million in merit-based aid to be matched by Illinois public universities and given to Illinois students, according to the Associated Press.
According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the MAP provides grants to Illinois residents who are attending Illinois colleges and demonstrate financial need. The grants do not need to be repaid, and are determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The AIM High Grant Pilot Program was introduced by the bipartisan higher education working group and will be portioning out aid to universities based on the amount of undergraduate Illinois residents each university enrolls. For the 2017 school year, 82.5 percent of SIUE’s incoming freshmen were from Illinois.
State Representative for the 36th District Kelly Burke and Rauner have said the new program will serve as a tool to keep students inside the state as well as make higher education more affordable for them.
“We have a lot of students whose family income is above the threshold for Pell and MAP (grants), so they don’t qualify for any of the need-based financial aid,” Burke told The Daily Illini. “But the families also don’t have $20,000 sitting around them to go to school, so people end up borrowing.”
The program has a budget of $25 million for the year, but is able to double the amount of aid because the universities will be matching the state’s amount.
Recipients of the grant cannot have a family income that totals more than six times the national poverty rate, and they will have to provide grade point averages and national test scores. To find out if they are eligible for the program and how to apply, students can go to www.isac.org. More information on the program can be found athttp://www.isac.org/newsroom/isac-in-the-news/.
Lifestyles Editor Miranda Lintzenich