According to State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), limited Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant funds are being stretched even thinner for Illinois students thanks to a Democrat-sponsored proposal to expand grant eligibility to non-citizen students.
House Bill 2691 would allow non-citizen students to receive MAP funds. Currently, undocumented students are ineligible to receive federal student aid, Pell Grants, Illinois’ MAP Grant and other forms of state-based financial aid.
“The Democrat-majority voted for a costly policy change that would deny Illinois students grant funding, favoring instead to overextend the limited resources available to bankroll the college educations of illegal immigrants,” said Righter. “Legal citizens and their families are already being denied state aid because of the lack of available funding. Now, Democrat lawmakers are prioritizing undocumented residents and their college education, expanding eligibility for a program that cannot and should not be used to fund the tuitions of those in our state illegally.”
The controversial measure would also expand MAP Grant eligibility to students who fail to register for Selective Service.
“Serving your nation is one of the bravest sacrifices an individual can make. I firmly believe that we should be doing more to help and support our servicemen and women in their civilian lives, which is why House Bill 2691 is especially troubling to me,” said Righter. “Expanding the eligibility pool for MAP Grants to include not only those in our country illegally but also those individuals who refuse to register for Selective Service will further limit higher education opportunities.”
In Fiscal Year 2018, 129,500 students received a MAP Grant, each averaging around $3,000. According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, this legislation could potentially add an additional $9 million dollars in annual demand for the MAP program. House Bill 2691 could potentially deny 3,000 students access to MAP Grants. Meanwhile, 97,500 students were denied access to MAP Grants in Fiscal Year 2018 due to lack of available funding.
House Bill 2691 passed the Senate on May 8 by a vote of 35 to 15 and will now advance to the Governor’s desk.